Will anyone be held responsible for Powell trench collapse? | Property owner speaks out

Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation into the incident on Thursday.
Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched investigation Thursday.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 8:20 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 3:10 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Investigators with the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday that they are still tracking down what caused a 15-foot deep trench to collapse on two workers last week in Powell.

The incident happened along East Beaver Creek Drive, where rescuers with the Rural Metro Fire Department along with other agencies tirelessly worked for some 10 hours trying to get the unnamed men out safely. Rural Metro said weather conditions caused the soil to weaken and break apart.

According to TOSHA, state law requires a shield box to be in a trench that size. WVLT News cameras did not see a box at the scene, which has created questions around prevention.

Just hours after the workers crouched down in what rescuers call a life-saving fetal position, TOSHA launched an investigation. On Tuesday, the administration would not tell WVLT who they’re looking into, but it was revealed that there are a couple of businesses connected to the site.

WVLT News went back out to the site and saw a company named Mckinley and Roland Contracting, LLC on the property. The owner, Dewayne Hicks, only confirmed his company was hired as contractors and was meeting with TOSHA investigators. At this time, it is unclear who hired the two men.

The Secretary of State lists Jason Baker of B&B Builders, Inc. as the property owner. WVLT News questioned Baker about the incident that sent two men to the hospital. He only said he didn’t have any information as the men were not his workers. He did not comment as the property owner.

According to Rural Metro, at least one patient was released from the hospital. As for the other patient, Rural Metro said the hospital stopped releasing information.

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