EASTPOINTE, Mich. – An Eastpointe city worker has died after he became trapped when a trench collapsed on Wednesday, according to Fire Deputy Chief Nick Sage.
The incident happened at about 6:20 p.m. near Gratiot and Hayes avenues. The man was working on a water main break at the time. He was taken to a hospital but later died.
The victim’s identity was released Thursday afternoon. He was identified as Brian Theobald.
“We saw the fire trucks start coming down Gratiot, and when they got to the hole, the firemen jumped out real fast and started jumping in the hole,” said Dean Polard.
“They hit something down there and the mud walls caved in on him.”
Polard said he and several others ran over to the scene to help.
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“We didn’t want to just stand around doing nothing. He was almost full of water and mud,” Polard said.
Sage said that the man covered with water and mud was a 41-year old Eastpointe city worker from the Department of Public Works, and the trench was about to 6 feet to 7 feet deep.
Within minutes, fire crews and even witnesses jumped in to save him.
“Another gentleman and I jumped in and grabbed a hold of the rope and was trying to help pull the guy out. It was like six or seven of us. He was a big man and finally we got him out, got him out of the hole. As soon as we got him on the ground, the fire department started doing CPR on him right away. He wasn’t breathing. He wasn’t breathing at all,” Polard said.
City manager Elke Doom released a statement on Facebook:
On 12/30/2020 at 6:20pm, members of our Department of Public Works were working to repair a water main break on Gratiot near Lydia Street. The trench around the water main collapsed trapping DPW worker Brian Theobald in the hole. Emergency services were notified immediately. The Eastpointe Fire Department and several citizens worked to free Mr. Theobald from the hole. Our firefighter / paramedics and Medstar ambulance personnel administered life-saving measures and transported Mr. Theobald to a local hospital. Tragically, Mr. Theobald’s injuries were too severe and he did not survive. Mr. Theobald was a valued employee of the City of Eastpointe for thirteen years. He was 45 years old. He is survived by his wife and two children.
I extend my deepest sympathies to the Theobald family and Brian’s Eastpointe family. Brian died serving the citizens of Eastpointe and will always be remembered.
City manager Elke Doom
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