Two construction workers were killed in October when a Boston water main line burst, flooding the trench they were working in. The men were employed by Atlantic Drain Service Co. The trench was about 20 feet long and two feet wide, about 12-15 feet deep. It is unclear how the water line ruptured. Officials indicated that at least two people working in the trench managed to escape.
The Boston Fire Department indicated that firefighters arrived within moments of the accident, but by then the street was also flooded, making it impossible for them to get into the trench until the Boston Water and Sewer Commission shut off the water. The flooding left gas and electric lines exposed making the trench too unstable for
firefighters to enter until a “trench box” could be assembled.
Officials said that Atlantic Drain was hired by a resident to run pipes from a house to the street. As of this writing, it was not clear whether the company had the proper permits for the work.
According to OSHA, trenching is one of the riskiest types of construction with about 40 trench workers killed every year.