September 26, 2023


FDNY members worked with the NYPD to help save a man buried while doing excavation work in Manhattan on Jan. 21.

“Everyone worked together and did a great job,” Assistant Chief of Operations James Daly, Jr., said. “It’s testament to their skill, training and passion.”

Responding FDNY physician, Dr. Glenn Asaeda, agreed, “The teamwork was tremendous. It was nice to see something move so well.”

FDNY members were called to 413 Grand St. just after 4 p.m.

Firefighters from Ladder 15 and Ladder 18, along with Battalion 4, were first on scene and found the man buried to his chest in dirt and sand. They learned that when the trench collapsed, the man was completely covered in dirt, but other workers were able to clear it to his chest, so he could breathe.

he firefighters began preparing the scene for special operations – including Squad 18, Rescue 1 and NYPD ESU – padding the sides of the trench and making an anchor, to keep him steady in case the dirt began to move and bury him further.

When the scene was safe to enter, Rescue Paramedics from 01R2 administered crush syndrome treatment with guidance from Dr. Asaeda. When patients are in a confined space, toxins build up in their bloodstream and are released when they are freed from the compression, especially potassium. This can lead to kidney and heart failure, so the IV fluids and medications administered dilute the toxins and help the victim recover.

In this case, they additionally performed two new protocols. They administered Ketamine, a drug recently approved by the State of New York for pain management; and they used a warmer, which could warm IV fluids to around 100 degrees, helping someone hypothermic.

Firefighters used compressed air to loosen the dirt and, using the ConEd vacuum, remove the soil so they could retrieve him from the hole.

While Chief Daly said this type of job usually takes at least three hours, but they were able to remove the victim in just 59 minutes. The victim was in serious but stable condition and never lost consciousness.

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