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Cause of trench workers' deaths at local home unknown

Cause of trench workers' deaths at local home unknown
Posted at 10:07 PM, Apr 13, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Investigators from the Corpus Christi fire and police departments are trying to figure out what killed two men who died while doing trench work Wednesday.

They were working underneath a home in the 7000 block of Hathor Drive, but C.C.F.D. Battalion Chief Billy Belyeu says there was no collapse, and their cause of death is unknown.

They've determined that one common danger associated with trench work is not to blame.

“We had to do some air monitoring just to make sure — to rule out any dangerous issues with the air underneath the house — which usually with a trench, that’s what you end up finding," Belyeu said. "But we didn’t find anything of any significance.”

The man who found the workers dead around 5:30 p.m. received a shock from a light being used under the home.

He wasn't hurt, but investigators are trying to determine if the light gave the workers a deadly shock.

“Right now we don’t have an exact way that they died, but now we’re starting to lean towards electricity," Belyeu said. "And they’re going to — (the police department) is going to be on scene, and they’re investigating that right now.”

A representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also on the scene, but it's unclear what — if anything — OSHA found in regards to a dangerous work environment.

“They appeared to be taking the proper precautions," Belyeu said. "It’s just a tragedy that happened today.”