Worker killed in Streamwood sewer line
A 22-year-old Gurnee man working in a Streamwood sewer line was killed Wednesday.
Firefighters worked for about four hours Wednesday night to pull the man out of a manhole on the 500 block of South Park Boulevard in Streamwood. The Cook County medical examiner's office Thursday identified the man as Brett Morrow.
Streamwood Fire Chief Chris Clark said the sewer contractor called for help about 6:15 p.m. Two firefighters saw the feet of the worker in the 20-inch-diameter pipe about 20 feet north of the manhole on Park Boulevard at Parkside Circle, and it took them about four hours to retrieve him, Clark said.
The contractor had been adding a fiberglass lining to the sewer line, and the lining hardens after it is sprayed inside. The firefighters had to chip the new lining away to get to the worker, Clark said.
Only after the worker was pulled out of the manhole did firefighters realize he had died, Clark said.
The medical examiner said an autopsy is scheduled but did not specify a date or time.
"We certainly had hope this would be a rescue and were treating it as a rescue the entire time," Clark said.
Representatives of OSHA were at the scene to begin investigating, and police will also be investigating, Clark said.
Aerial video shown by Fox 32 News via Facebook Live showed firefighters pulling the worker, covered in a white sheet, out of the manhole and into a Streamwood Fire Department ambulance. Fellow workers still on the scene grieved.
Firefighters were huddled around the manhole starting around 6:30 p.m., and fire trucks and ambulances from at least the Streamwood, Carpentersville, Palatine, Hanover Park, East Dundee and Schaumburg fire departments surrounded the scene.
As neighbors started appearing to see what was happening, rescuers held up sheets to block views.
Ed Biesiadecki, who lives a few doors down from the scene, said work to line the sewer pipes started at about 7 a.m. Wednesday, and the pipes were flushed a week ago in preparation for the work.
Biesiadecki said he was drawn to the scene from his house by the odor of the liner's sealer. He said he's lived on the street for 42 years and the sewer system dates back to shortly before that time.
Another neighbor said sewer workers were going door to door asking people not to use their water or flush their toilets while the rescue operation was going on.