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Road workers suffocate in Durham manhole

Posted June 7, 2011
Updated June 8, 2011

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— Two road workers got trapped in a manhole and suffocated Tuesday evening in Durham County, a fire department spokesman said.

The men, whose names were not released, got trapped in a manhole at U.S. Highway 70, near Leesville Road, shortly before 6 p.m. They worked for Triangle Grading and Paving, based in Burlington.

Coworkers dialed 911, but by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the men were already dead, authorities said. Their bodies were recovered around 9 p.m.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office is investigating, and the state Department of Labor has been notified.

Triangle Grading and Paving was cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in January 2010 for exposing employees to work hazards while working in an eight-foot trench at Fort Bragg.


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  • bmg379 Jun 8, 2011

    contractor needs to be held accountable for these 2 human beings with families who loved them

  • Wanda63 Jun 8, 2011

    There are two fire houses less than 5 minutes from this work site. I doubt it was a slow response to this call.

    Sorry for your loss to the families.

  • h3ardita11b4 Jun 8, 2011

    such a horrible story - my thoughts are with the families!

  • imdicktrickle Jun 8, 2011


  • boneymaroney13 Jun 8, 2011

    What is it with all these irresponsible comments, ie. blame the rescue folks, hire unhirables, hire ex-cons??? Two guy's are dead. What's the matter with you people?

  • NCSU_JIM Jun 8, 2011

    Sounds like the contractor failed to use the correct procedure or any procedure at all when working in confined spaces period, the supervisor and his supervisor should be charge with manslaughter. Where was the competent person? this could have been totally avoidable.

  • ctnorris2011 Jun 8, 2011

    How sad!! May God Bless their families in this tragic time!!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 8, 2011

    Tackman and laterl, don’t you know that all those pesky regulations to make sure that manholes are safe just cost private companies money and stifle job growth? Sure this is a tragedy, but workers can take care of themselves.


    Folks, it’s sad when stuff like this happens AND we had to fight like crazy (against guess who) to get regulations passed that can save lives. Yes, it costs money to test confined areas for CO and other deadly gases, to get a permit so you’re qualified to enter confined spaces, to pump in fresh air in, etc.

    So, (you know who you are), stop fighting us at every turn with this “regulations” stuff. This is the alternative.

  • Common Sense Rules Jun 8, 2011

    It is sad that an employer who was warned by OSHA in January 2010 put individuals in a hazardous situation 15 months later. Sounds like in January they didn't shore up the trench and luckily nobody died because of it. Terrible and senseless tragedy.

  • jasdor Jun 8, 2011

    I am wondering why a paving crew would even be down there. These paving companies hire alot of unhirables, ex-cons etc. Not much training or experience just a warm body will do. Sad story.