PORTLAND – The owner of Apollo Drain & Rooter Services, Inc., the company involved in Monday’s trench collapse, said the trench was properly shored and the collapse was a 'freak accident.'
Worker Danny Russu was in an 11-foot trench in Southwest Portland with two other men Monday when the trench collapsed, burying Russu under rubble.
The owner's son and another worker, along with emergency crews, spent more than three hours working to free Russu. He was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and was in serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit Tuesday.
Scott Bird, the owner of Apollo, went with his son and the other worker to visit Russu in the hospital.
"He was laying in the hospital, he didn't have any broken bones and he was in good spirits, saying he was hungry, laughing," Bird said Tuesday. "When we walked in the room, the first thing he said was, 'My hero.'"
Background: Man rescued from trench in serious condition
Bird said Tuesday that despite the collapse, the trench was properly built.
“The shoring that was in the trench is the OSHA [Occupational Safety & Health Administration] approved type shoring for the soil type and for that job,” he said.
The company said the trench may have collapsed due to the recent rain.
“We believe this was an unfortunate freak accident possibly due to the recent overabundance of rain in our area,” Apollo said in a statement released Monday. “We take every safety precaution on our excavation job sites, including strict adherence to all OSHA standards.”
In 2013, Apollo was inspected by Oregon OSHA and three violations were found at the company's shop.
Apollo was fined $250 for one of the violations, which involved a guard that was missing on a piece of equipment. None of the violations involved trench building.
"It is pretty routine that we fine those type of violations in any shop," said Melanie Mesaros, spokeswoman for Oregon OSHA. "It's still serious in that it could do some serious damage to someone getting injured, but it is pretty common."
Oregon OSHA was investigating the collapse.