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Water main bursts, drowning workers trapped 20 feet down

UPDATE: BFD reports second worker drowned.

A water main gave way shortly before 1:10 p.m. at Dartmouth and Tremont streets, with at least one worker trapped as the water rushed in. Around 2:20 p.m., the Boston Fire Department reported firefighters were draining the trench to recover his body.

Initial reports said two workers might have been trapped.

The Boston Police homicide unit was called in; routine when death is a possibility. Crime-scene specialists were also called in, as were inspectors from OSHA.

Z shows us the above-ground flooding around 1:20 p.m., before the intersection was shut by police - with officers called in from across the city:

Video of the flooding.

Traffic is, of course, a mess. BPS and BPD are working on getting school buses to a couple nearby schools to pick up kids when school lets out.

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Comments

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BFD says water main.

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does anyone know if these guys were boston water and sewer?

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But if you watch the video, it shows a sign board for Atlantic, which is a drain company on Hyde Park Avenue in Roslindale.

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Boston Water and Sewer is a city of Boston owned company and they do handle any related water piping that' is below ground, Unless either it was gas company eversource digging in street .

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From WCVB site:

The Atlantic Drain Service Co. workers were in a trench adjacent to a fire hydrant that started leaking and quickly filling the hole...
The workers are contract workers, not employees of the city. Several teams were at the scene trying to recover the bodies and secure the area.

Of course Water and Sewer is on the scene now.

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Nice fix on the title. Hope they get the other guy out.

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Tragedy..

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This is horrible.
RIP

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These folks bring us civilization, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.

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Hey Swirls, this is first time I've ever voted for you in agreement.

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Every time I pass by One Kendall Square, I take a moment to reflect on the death of Douglas Pollander; next year it'll have been 20 years since the day he was killed by an explosion when trying to repair electric lines for the area, including where I was living at the time.

Since then I've been a lot more patient when dealing with power outages, because nothing in my freezer (or on my computers) is worth a life.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1997/8/8/blast-kills-one-downs-power-in/

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From the Globe article:

More than 800 construction workers die on the job every year, according to OSHA. Trenching is one of the riskiest types of construction, according to the agency: A cave-in can happen in seconds. About 40 trench workers are killed every year.

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Kissed your loved ones people, anything can happen at any time.

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Horrible story. I hope God protects his family.

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I was once working an emergency steam line break in the A street projects the day before Christmas in the rain. We were doing an exploratory dig to find the leak and the hole got pretty big. I requested the trench box be moved but there was such a rush that I was ignored. Just after we found the leak and I was replacing the pipe, a huge section of the wall collapsed down on me, pinning me, chest and face to the pipe with about 4 feet of wet earth above me. Luckily I was dug out quickly. Whether they know it or not, these guys put their life on the line to bring us conveniences we barely even think about. This is a sad day.

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Christ.

I didn't realize it was even legal for workers to be in a trench without shoring.

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It sounded like there were several others in the trench who got out. This is pure speculation on my part but if there was only one or two ladders to get out and the water was pouring in fast the bottom of the trench may have turned to muck that their feet sank into getting stuck before they could get on the ladder.

No matter what the specifics are this is an awful tragedy and I feel for their families and friends.

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The Globe Reports two workers died

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My condelonces to those that loved them.

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Pour one out for the maintainers.

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Could this be a case of what so many of us have been worried about for so long, namely, that our creaking infrastructure is going to literally kill people now?

What horrendous event. I am so sorry for their loved ones.

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Just an illustration of the inherent dangers of construction and maintenance work. A pipe could burst without being in the ground for decades for a number of reasons.

Like some said above, without us or them acknowledging it, people may literally be risking their lives to bring us the conveniences that we take for granted.

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But as JP said there can be failures for a number of reasons. The major rupture in 2010 that created all kinds of issues and a boil alert for the city was on a pipe that was only seven years old.

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You start the early morning thinking about what you're going to do with your kids that weekend, wonder about the weather, maybe dick around with your fantasy football picks, get the same coffee you've gotten five thousand times before.

You show up for work, doing the job you do five days a week, and then some offhand bit of chaos puts an unforeseeable period on your life, full stop, leaving your family and friends and coworkers and pets bereft.

I didn't know those two poor souls, but I'm still shocked, numbed. I live a couple of blocks away from that intersection, looked both ways four times before I stepped into the crosswalk on a busy street in the rain tonight. Counted my lucky stars for having ducked who-knows-how-many chances to meet a similarly senseless, untimely fate, and felt a little ashamed about it. Could have been me. Could have been any of us.

Sorrow for the lives cut short. Empathy for the folks left behind. RIP.

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This is horrible. I hope that this was truly an accident. The Globe story reported that the company employing these fellows has been cited for serious safety violations. If these guys died due to not following safety protocols then their deaths are doubly tragic. All construction work is dangerous. Safety must always come first.

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Tonight my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two workers who tragically lost their lives while doing their jobs on Dartmouth Street. Today is a difficult day for the entire City of Boston, and especially those who go to work at construction sites everyday to make our city better. I extend my gratitude to all of Boston's first responders, and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission workers who worked tirelessly today in the recovery efforts.

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The Globe reports on all the safety violations racked up by Atlantic Drain Service.

One thing they missed, maybe because the company wasn't cited for it, was an incident in March in which a worker changing a tire at their Hyde Park Avenue facility got trapped under the truck.

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An atrocious record, with several violations seemingly directly connected to the kind of work the crew was doing today. Such an awful occurrence, but all the more so if it should never have happened.

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Yesterday, walking past Tufts medical center a woman had collapsed in grief right around the time the men were pronounced dead. I have never seen, nor heard, grief that palpable in a person before. Her young daughter with the support of two strangers walking by helped support her until they could get her into a car. I do not know if she was a family member, or completely unrelated to this tragedy, but it really hits home this time around.

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But what from I see in the video it looks like negligence and or not knowing how to work around water mains. I'm going to say that this all happened because they removed the thrust block from behind the fire hydrant while working which eventually lead to the branch of the hydrant blowing off with no thrust holding the pipe in place, totally avoidable had they contacted water and sewer to shut the gate to the hydrant off or bracing the boot of the hydrant.

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