In the late morning on September 12, Santa Clara County Fire personnel were called to a rescue operation in Saratoga. Located at 12370 Radoyka Drive, a construction worker was trapped in a trench that had been dug next to a home's foundation. Suspecting that the rescue would require an extended operation, FASCV member Bruce Dembeki called fire dispatchers to see if FASCV could be of assistance. The response was, "Yes!"
While Bruce went to get Fire Support Unit 2, Ron Green, George Hoyt, Dan Wong, Don Gilbert and John Whitaker reponded to the scene. Rehab was set up in a shady driveway several doors down from the incident. FASCV provided lemonade, cold beverages, Clif Bars and a place to sit down on a warm, summer afternoon. As the event moved into it's third hour, Ron Green and John Whitaker were tasked with ordering and delivering 50 Togo's sandwiches from a nearby store.
The incident proved to be a very complicated effort. The trench had been dug right next to the house foundation where a worker was looking for the source of a leak in a recently-built basement. While in the trench, the dirt collapsed and he was buried up to his neck. Firefighters quickly called for a City of San Jose Vacon truck that was able to suck up the loose dirt. Conventional digging was just causing more dirt to fall into the narrow trench. The worker was eventually hauled out on a backboard with block and tackle rigging hung from below the basket on Santa Clara County Fire Truck 1.
- John's photos can be viewed at: Trench Rescue
- A San Jose Mercury News story can be read at: Man Buried Neck-deep