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2 men killed in Windsor trench collapse; family members able to talk to one before he died

Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 21:27:30-04

WINDSOR, Colo. — Two men trapped in a 15-foot-deep trench in a construction area in Windsor have died, according to a Windsor Severance Fire Rescue release.

Windsor Fire Chief Kris Kazian told Denver7 that the two men — 26-year-old Cristopher Lee Ramirez and a 41-year-old Jorge Baez Valadez — were in the trench Tuesday afternoon on a new home construction site when it collapsed, burying the two victims in dirt.

Ramirez was a resident of Boulder; Valadez lived in Denver, according to the Weld County Coroner, who identified the men early Wednesday evening.

Workers on scene were able to get a PVC pipe to one of the workers. The worker had been in voice contact via the pipe with rescue crews throughout the incident. Family members of the victim were also able to make contact with the trapped worker using the tube before he passed away, the release read. No voice contact with the second trapped worker was able to be made.

A crew of at least 60 people worked several hours to try to free the men. Due to the soil conditions where the workers were trapped, the excavation had to be conducted by hand using small shovels and buckets. A heavy-duty vacuum truck was dispatched to the scene and was able to remove much of the soft dirt from the trench.

“This operation took several hours due to the nature of the situation,” Kazian said in the release. “Our focus was on preventing no further harm to those trapped, or to the crews working to rescue them.”

Crews are now working to recover the bodies. The process could take several more hours.

An investigation by federal, state and local authorities into what caused the accident is ongoing.