One out of three men died in a collapsed trench in Texas on Tuesday, despite the best efforts of volunteer fire crews in the town of Joaquin.
The JVFD drew criticism from relatives of one of the men involved in the accident, 52-year-old Patrick Parks, who died when the sewer pipe hole collapsed on his brother and he tried to save him.
“We were able to help two of them. One of them we were not,” Joaquin volunteer firefighter Stephen Ewing said. “That is a tragedy. But we did everything possible we could do to help those men.”
A contractor and two municipal workers were attempting to clasp sewer pipes together when the east wall of the hole they were in collapsed, allowing mud to pour in, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office reports.
Still, relatives of Parks say the fire crews didn’t do enough to save the man.
“Should’ve done more … Should’ve done more … . Half of them standing around up here on this level while that man was down there in that hole,” said Don Thompson, a cousin of the Parks brothers.
Neither a city worker nor qualified to respond to excavation disasters, Parks leapt in at his own peril.
“Sometimes his brother comes by and he helps him Sometimes they get him to help out. So this particular time, they must have told him they needed his help.”
According to KSLA, Mayor Bill Baker said that the incident is under investigation and has hit the town pretty hard.
“It’s a very close-knit community; and they always pull together in times like this,” said Baker, the mayor.