Man in fatal trench collapse expressed fears in Facebook post

A man who died after becoming trapped in a collapsed trench June 15 was identified as James Rogers, 33, of Winchester, Ohio.

  • Rescue crews had no contact with victim
  • Body of victim found several hours after trench collapse
  • Accident happened at new home construction site
  • OSHA investigating the incident

UPDATE @ 10:56 a.m. (June 21)

A little more than a month before his death, Rogers posted on Facebook that a 12-foot-deep sewer hole he was working in caved in 10 minutes after he got out of it.

“Never again ant worth it,” Rogers wrote on May 10.

Rogers died June 15 after a trench he was in collapsed at a Washington Twp. construction site.

Rogers' visitation is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Newcomer Funeral Home, 4104 Needmore Road. The funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

UPDATE @ 1:20 p.m. (June 18)

The family of James Rogers say the trench collapse that led to the man’s death could have been avoided, and they plan to take action to ensure it doesn’t happen again, according to a statement released today.

A friend, speaking on behalf of the family, said occupational safety regulations were not followed at the construction site where the fatal incident occurred.

Statement on behalf of the family of James Rogers:

"The family of James Rogers would like to express their deepest gratitude to all of the police, fire, EMTs and rescue workers that worked so hard to try and save James. Their compassion and understanding gave us comfort on a day where unbearable sadness and pain were felt so deeply by his family and by all who loved James. As we search for a way to find peace and honor his memory we intend to pursue legislation that will ensure this kind of tragic and preventable death never again leaves another family without their loved one. Funeral arrangements are pending and friends of the family have started a gofundme page to help with burial expenses and to help provide for his two small children."

The investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is ongoing.

UPDATE @ 1:10 p.m. (June 17)

The employer of the man killed Wednesday after a trench collapsed on him “admitted to the investigators that he did not tell the truth” about the hole’s depth, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office records show.

The body of KRW Plumbing worker James Rogers was recovered several hours after a trench he was in collapsed at a Washington Twp. construction site Wednesday afternoon.

This news organization obtained the sheriff’s office report today.

KRW Plumbing officials initially told deputies the trench was seven feet deep.

When Occupational Safety and Health Administration representatives arrived, KRW officials “admitted the trench was 12 feet deep,” according to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office records.


Rogers was found dead after crews spent hours searching for him as he was trapped on Claxton Glen Court near Marshall Road at a new home construction site.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating whether a contractor working at a new home construction site was following the proper safety protocol, officials said.

According to OSHA, a trench five feet or deeper requires a protective system unless the excavation is made entirely in stable rock.

This news outlet is working to find out from OSHA if there was a protective system in place, since the trench was deeper than five feet in some sections, according to firefighters.

This news outlet also made several attempts to reach the construction company and was hung up on twice by the receptionist.

Michael Guadagno, captain at Washington Twp. fire and coordinator of the regional technical rescue team, said the trench Wednesday was one of the deepest his team has encountered. It was 10 to 12 feet at its deepest prior to the collapse.

“It’s one of the deepest we’ve come into contact with,” Guadagno said.

In fact, the rescue team’s equipment is only made for trenches eight feet deep. He said the team had to custom build shoring while on site.

“When we got there everybody went to work immediately trying to make their rescue; it was determined that he was buried to a significant depth,” Guadagno said.

Then it turned to a recovery effort, and the team made preparations including setting shoring and other protective measures to avoid further collapse.

Rogers was laying piping in the trench made of hard-packed clay when the collapse happened. He was described as a construction worker and the father of a young child.

A portion of Marshall Road was closed for hours Wednesday as more than two dozen safety vehicles responded shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday and area residents, friends and family of the victim gathered, watching anxiously as the scene unfolded.