NORTH HOLLYWOOD – Firefighters rescued a construction worker Wednesday who was trapped in dirt up to his chest in a deep trench for almost two hours, authorities said. The 40-year-old worker and a colleague became trapped in the 15-foot-deep trench at a construction site at 11000 Oxnard Street near Vineland Avenue about 3:07 this afternoon. His colleague was removed shortly after becoming trapped. Both were in fair condition at local hospitals. “It was terrifying just to look at,” said Greg West, Los Angeles City Fire Department Assistant Chief. West said about 70 firefighters responded to the call, including members of the department’s Urban Search and Rescue team who are trained for trench rescues. The team used plywood and other material to shore up and stabilize the dirt surrounding the man while using a Department of Sanitation diesel-powered vacuum truck to suck out tons of dirt. “That dirt caves in, it puts pressure on his chest so it makes breathing difficult,” West said, explaining why the man might have been seen flaying his arms trying to scoop dirt away from himself. The trapped worker was given an oxygen mask and a hard hat and spoke with firefighters throughout the tense ordeal, West said. Los Angeles Police Department officers responding to what proved to be an erroroneous assault with a deadly weapon call involving men with shovels, were the first emergency workers on scene. The workers with shovels “were obviously trying to help their buddy out,” said Officer Matt Ethridge, one of the first to arrive. Ethridge said he saw about a half-dozen workers shoveling dirt out of the hole using a rope with a bucket tied to the end. He said he and five other officers used the rope to pull the man’s colleague out of the hole. Firefighters arrived on scene shortly after. The first man rescued was taken to Providence Saint Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, where he was also listed in fair condition. The second man was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. The workers were digging holes for footings and had used a back hoe earlier in the day, officials said. It was not clear what type of construction was going on at the site.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!