May 13, 2010 in City

Construction worker injured when home collapses

By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photo

A man working for Hammerhead Demolition Inc. is taken to an awaiting ambulance after Spokane firefighters freed him from under a house that collapsed at 3633 E. Second Ave on Thursday, May 13, 2010. The man was prepping the house to be moved.
(Full-size photo)

A man escaped serious injury today when a house fell on him.

The man, who was not identified, was trying to move the home at 3633 E. 2nd Ave., which had been sold by the state Department of Transportation as part of the North-South Freeway corridor. He apparently was working alone when the house shifted and collapsed onto what was left of the foundation.

“I heard it. We were down in the basement and I heard a boom. I ran up here and the house was down and there was dust,” said neighbor Geno Cushen. “I didn’t know he was there. He let us know he was down there. I could hear him calling. He said he wasn’t hurt, just trapped.”

At about the same time, the Spokane Fire Department Technical Rescue team was training with its tractor trailer when the call came in at 1:41 p.m., said Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer.

“Our whole team, the tractor trailer and the whole works, were at the training center when the call came in,” Schaeffer said. “They were able to quickly deploy and use the tractor trailer to lift the house. They used cribbing to stabilize it, and then lifted it some more.”

It took about 20 minutes to extricate the man, who was in his 50s, who works for Hammerhead Demolition.

Cushen said the man’s wife purchased the home and he had been working alone to jack the home onto steel beams resting on trucks of four tractor-trailer tires. But it appears he didn’t put chocks in front of the tires to keep them from rolling, Cushen said.

“I called 911 … and half the city showed up,” Cushen said. “I’ve chatted with him a couple of times. They were moving the house. He’s been working on it for about a month.

Schaeffer said the man was transported with minor trauma to the area around his hips.

“He was the only one inside when the load shifted,” he said. “He was between the foundation and the house. It sounds like he was trapped but not pinned. He’s very lucky.”

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