BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Fire Department retrieved both of the people killed when a water main broke while they were working underground in a trench in the South End on Friday night.
A water main broke on Dartmouth Street just after 1 p.m. on Friday flooding the trench.READ MORE: 'Unfortunate that it came to this,' Brookline school teachers go on strike
Firefighters said two people were killed, and it took crews into the evening to recover both bodies. WBZ-TV confirmed the two killed were employees of Atlantic Drain Services in Roslindale. Their identities have not yet been released.
As the trench flooded, passersby watched Atlantic Drain workers attempt to save their fellow employees but the rushing water was too powerful. At the company’s headquarters, those who knew the victims describe them as the nice, hard-working family men.
WBZ-TV learned Atlantic Drain Services has been cited for numerous safety violations over the past four years. Records show they were cited for not having sufficient rescue crews in case of an accident.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans urged drivers to avoid Dartmouth Street between Warren and Tremont Streets.
The area will likely be closed at least through Saturday morning.
“I think it’s going to be quite a while because they have to firm up the hole before the firefighters and the rescue can go down and bring up the two bodies,” Evans said earlier Friday night.
Firefighters used a large vacuum to remove water from the approximately 12-foot-deep trench.READ MORE: Bobcat breaks into Vermont home, attacks elderly man inside
Mayor Marty Walsh arrived on scene a short time after the incident.
“We’ve had a tough week here in Boston,” Walsh said. “We had two police officers that were shot last week, we had a two-year-old girl shot, we have some workers here today. It just shows you life crushes.”
Firefighters said there were other construction workers who made it out of the trench.
WBZ-TV’s Julie Loncich reports
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been requested to respond to the scene.
Evans said police and firefighters will work with OSHA to determine what caused the deadly incident.MORE NEWS: New England Living: Broomstones curling club in Wayland
“I heard the officers screaming on the air very quickly to get fire and everyone down here. They realized very quickly we had workers trapped down there,” said Evans.