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Utility worker killed in trench collapse on San Francisco street

First responders and emergency personnel work to rescue a utility worker from a collapsed trench on Oak Street in San Francisco on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023. | Source: Juliana Yamada for The Standard

San Francisco firefighters recovered a utility worker’s body from under 8 feet of a collapsed sidewalk and dirt on Oak Street in Lower Haight after a trench rescue attempt, fire officials said Thursday.

The collapse happened at 1100 Oak St., at the corner of Divisadero Street.

The victim was working in a trench on a sewer project when the street above him collapsed.

People were asked to avoid the area while the “technical trench rescue” was carried out. Search dogs were also on the scene.

Police tape keeps people away from the scene of an emergency where San Francisco Fire Department and emergency personnel work to recover a utility worker’s body from under 8 feet of a collapsed sidewalk and dirt on Oak Street. | Source: Juliana Yamada for The Standard

However, around noon, San Francisco Fire Department tweeted that rescuers had reached the victim and “the rescue has transitioned into recovery.”

The medical examiner was on the scene, and the cause of the incident was under investigation.

A statement from San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission and Department of Works at 3 p.m. said the victim was a D’Arcy & Harty Construction contractor working on the commission’s Panhandle and Inner Sunset Large Sewer Rehabilitation Project. He was later identified as 25-year-old Javier Romero from Alameda County.

The project is upgrading and replacing existing sewers in the area, the statement said. Public Works is managing construction on the project.

“The details of the incident are still being investigated,” the statement continued. “[The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health] responded to the scene, and the city is fully cooperating with the investigation into the incident. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of this worker, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this situation.”

Bay City News contributed to this report.
Joe Burn can be reached at

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