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In Los Angeles, California, a Trench Collapse Has Left At Least One Person

Aired February 4, 2002 - 12:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to get you to Los Angeles, California right now, show you a live picture. Apparently a trench collapse has left at least one person trapped inside, don't have a whole lot of information on this right now, but take a look at the live picture from KTLA, our affiliate there in L.A. Jim Wells is a spokesperson for the fire department.

Sir, can you hear me OK?

JIM WELLS, L.A. FIRE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Yes.

HEMMER: Mr. Wells, Bill Hemmer at the CNN Center back here in Atlanta, what happened there, sir?

WELLS: We are not sure of exactly what happened, but some type of construction was under way maybe for some kind of piling (ph) in this residential area in the Pacific Palisades of Los Angeles. It's 351 North Granola Street. We received this call around 8:23 this morning Pacific Time, and they found one individual trapped in a hole up to his neck in dirt and debris. Firefighters are currently working to extricate this individual out of the predicament, and we have urban search-and-rescue on the team on the scene also to try and get this individual out.

The major problem that we have here is that the dirt is loose soil at this point, and this soil is pressing up against the individual's chest. When he exhales more pressure is exerted up on to the individual, and it is causing him some difficulty breathing. It will take us another hour or so to get the individual out. We removed the dirt on the individual and we put it in areas so it will not recollapse on the individual. We then shore up the area so we do not have new collapses on this individual. When we did arrive on the scene there, this individual, he was talking with us, he was conscious and alert, which is always a good sign.

Once again, we don't know what kinds of injuries this individual may have suffered prior to our arrival.

HEMMER: Mr. Wells, thank you. Listen, as we watch this picture here, it's clear that some of the workers are working quite quickly now. As you mentioned, with that moving soil and dirt in the area, it's quite precarious for the person trapped. Good news on one front, that the person is exposed breathing wise, at least to the outside air.

Jim Wells, the fire department spokesman in L.A., Pacific Palisades, near Los Angeles, 8:23 a.m., which was about an hour and 20 minutes ago this first happened. We will watch it and keep our fingers crossed here in Los Angeles.

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