Plumber, Father of 2, Dies in Philadelphia Trench Collapse

Dirt and concrete fell on the man as he worked on a private property along the 100 block of West Walnut Park Drive Thursday morning.

A worker has died after being trapped in a trench in Philadelphia’s East Oak Lane neighborhood Thursday morning.

Family members who prayed as they waited hours for word about the man identified him as Anthony Smith, a master plumber and father of two.

"He’s a great family man, he has two beautiful children, a great wife," family member Kevin Blake told NBC10's Aaron Baskerville. "He’s a hard working guy bro, he helps everybody."

Two other workers were nearby and were not hurt. But Smith, who was in the trench when it collapsed, was trapped for most of the day.

Despite lengthy rescue efforts by about 100 responders, he could not be saved.

Rescuers worked for about five hours to locate Smith, whose body was found about 15 feet below ground level among concrete, wiring and pipes. His body was finally recovered after nearly nine hours of digging. 

The dirt and concrete fell as the men worked on a private property along the 100 block of West Walnut Park Drive around 11:15 a.m., Philadelphia police said.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Theil said the rescue turned recovery operation was very complex and dangerous, and that responders had to work with extreme caution as to avoid any further collapse.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to make it clear that the other two workers were nearby, but not in the trench when it collapsed.

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