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Ariz. Worker Freed From Collapse Garage

August 9, 2006

PHOENIX (AP) _ Firefighters freed a severely injured construction worker trapped for hours under tons of concrete Tuesday in a collapsed parking garage.

The 28-year-old man was conscious and talking during the ordeal but suffered life-threatening injuries to his legs, said Mike Sandulak, a Fire Department division chief. He was taken to the hospital.

He is a ``remarkably brave individual″ who gave a thumbs-up while still trapped under the rubble, said Fire Chief Bob Kahn.

More than 100 firefighters from Phoenix and nearby agencies worked for more than six hours to pull the man from the debris. Firefighters shored up the structure with wood and air bags and cut reinforcing rods in the concrete so they could remove it.

As the man awaited rescue, firefighters gave him painkillers and started intravenous lines so they could give other medications and fluids. Medical personnel in hospital scrubs and hard hats passed oxygen bottles and IV fluids into a hole.

``I have not seen a rescue like this in Phoenix _ this complicated,″ Kahn said.

City officials referred to the man as Casey but would not give his full name.

The man’s father also had been working at the site and was allowed to stay close to his son during the rescue. The man’s wife and other family members also were brought to the scene, and talked to him and held his hand until he was rescued.

``Certainly they’re concerned and worried, but they’re strong,″ Mayor Phil Gordon said.

The accident happened before daybreak during demolition work on the parking garage at the Civic Center as the worker was operating a front-end loader.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

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