Medical examiner identifies victim killed in Grain Valley trench collapse

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GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man killed in a Wednesday trench collapse as 47-year-old Jeremiah Brown.

Chip Portz with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District told FOX4 they responded to the trench collapse just before noon in the 600 block of SW Hillside Drive where a new house was under construction.

Crews initially tried to rescue Brown, but transitioned to a recovery effort about a half-hour later. They recovered Brown’s body hours later at about 8 p.m.

It was a scary scene Wednesday at the site.

“I just saw a lot of ambulances, a lot of fire trucks,” neighbor Tony Ebel recalled.

“I didn’t know exactly know what had happened, but it blocked off the whole road. You could tell after a while that something bad had happened, and there were a lot of tears, and it was a scary situation for sure.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the collapse. The agency says Preferred Plumbing, Inc. was installing plumbing lines in a 10-foot deep trench, and will work to determine if the company was using required protective systems.

Preferred Plumbing is based in Kingsville, Mo., and doesn’t have any known violations according to OSHA. The investigation can take up to six months.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Brown was the treasurer and president of the company, located north of the city. Thursday, other workers were in the neighborhood delivering wood for new homes.

“We’re kind of like a community with all these contractors,” Nick Lomonte with Teague Lumber Company Inc. said.

Lomonte says when something like this happens, it hits you extremely hard, and for him, the situation’s even worse.

“I lost my wife back in April,” he said. “That broke my heart, and just knowing what they’re going through now… You’re never going to see them again or talk to them again, so it’s definitely sad.”

Lomonte says he can relate to the Brown family in that way. He also says he can relate to them because he’s a fellow construction worker.

“There’s plenty of times that you run into people [on a site], but we all help each other out you know?”

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