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The Suburbanite
  • Workers identified in trench collapse

  • Officials have released the identity of the man killed while working on a sewer line project in Jackson Township Tuesday.

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  • A father and son were trapped beneath the ground after a trench they were working in collapsed around them Tuesday. Only one survived.
    Scott Beatty Jr., 24, of Canton, is recuperating at an area hospital.
    His father, 50-year-old Scott K. Beatty, was killed in the collapse. His body was pulled from the hole by rescue crews at around 3:35 p.m., roughly three hours after the cave-in occurred.
    The elder Beatty had been trapped 15 feet below the surface, completely buried in compacted sandy soil, said Fire Chief Ted Heck.
    The Stark County Coroner’s Office will conduct an autopsy today.
    RESCUE AND RECOVERY
    The Beattys were hunting for a sewer connector in the trench when it caved in, Heck said. Both were working for Bontrager Excavating of Uniontown on a sewer construction project.
    Crews from the company were installing sewer lines in the 7900 block of Cheryl Lane Street NW.
    Heck said the son was buried up to his neck, and rescue crews quickly dug him out with shovels. He was taken to Affinity Medical Center in Massillon, where he remained late Tuesday. His condition was not released by hospital officials.
    Early into the rescue attempt, a worker at the scene slammed his helmet to the ground and began sobbing. Others tried to console him.
    Heck said the father had been buried for more than an hour when rescue crews presumed he was dead. Firefighters then went into “recovery mode.”
    “That was my call,” Heck said. “Initially, on arrival, we took the chance and put our guys in the hole. At some point, I had to make a decision ...”
    The scene — between Arlington Avenue and Vantage Hill Avenue NW — was cordoned off, and crews used heavy equipment to widen the hole for better access.
    Large slabs of wood and two trench boxes supported the banks of the trench, and an industrial vacuum from the Stark County Metropolitan Sewer District was used to help clear dirt from the bottom of the hole. Jackson Township firefighters had help from the Green Fire Department and Marathon Oil Company’s trench rescue crews.
    A firefighter went into the hole to recover Beatty’s body. The body was secured to a yellow board, which then was pulled with ropes above ground by other firefighters.
    After the body was recovered, a team of investigators from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) took control of the scene.
    They declined to comment.
    “I don’t know if they (the company) were in compliance or not,” Heck told reporters.
    In March, Stark County commissioners hired Bontrager Excavating for $1.2 million to install a new sanitary sewer line in the Jackson Meadows and Gowen Meadows allotments in Jackson Township.
    Page 2 of 2 - Twelve of the 135 homeowners submitted written objections to the project, but commissioners gave it the go-head because the Stark County Health Department believes sewage problems in the area could create a dangerous situation.
    The company experienced at least one other construction-related fatality in the last 18 years. In 1992, Donald H. Smith of Hartville died from injuries while working at a job site in Stow as an employee of Bontrager.
    City Editor Dave Sereno and staff writers Kelli Young and Tim Botos contributed to this story.