[Update, 11:30a: DCRA has re-checked their records, and the site had all the required permits, and passed several inspections during the process. This appears to have just been a tragic accident, not a permitting process gone awry. OSHA has been brought in to investigate the incident. According to DCRA’s Gil, the trench had intended to be 7-8 feet deep, and was 5 feet deep when it collapsed.]
Late yesterday, a man working in a construction trench at a house on Evarts Street NE in Brookland was buried alive when the trench structure gave way. While DC Fire & EMS worked to save the man before he succumbed, the trench’s collapse was too serious. This morning, I spoke with DCRA about the site, and they revealed that the work the man was doing was unpermitted, and that an inspector had told the man to stop work earlier in the day. [please note correction above – ed.]
“We’ve had people do incredibly dangerous unpermitted work before, but I can’t recall last time it resulted in a person’s death,” said Helder Gil from DCRA this morning. DCRA had been on the site yesterday, and had issued a stop work order for the site, but unfortunately the man returned to work after the visit. Our thoughts are with the man’s family today.