House collapses on construction worker

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

GALVESTON, Texas - A worker trapped underneath an old home that collapsed in Galveston was rescued Wednesday afternoon.

The collapse happened on 21st near Avenue M.

The homeowner said a worker was pulling off rotten wood from the porch when the foundation suddenly collapsed. The house had been raised 6 to 7 feet off the ground.

A neighbor said he heard a loud thud, went outside to investigate and heard screams coming from underneath the house.

"We just felt a rumble and a loud boom," neighbor Steven Reynolds said.

The worker was trapped underneath the house for about 50 minutes, officials said.

"I was telling him to just stay calm and we'll get everything taken care of as fast as possible," Reynolds said.

City crews used a forklift to assist in the rescue.

"Every quarter-inch that we lift, we have to do all the shoring around it," Fire Chief Jeff Smith said. "If it gives, it's catastrophic."

The worker was taken to John Sealy Hospital. His condition has not been released, but Reynolds said he was coherent.

It's not clear what caused the foundation to give way. The homeowner said he bought the house a couple of days ago. The house had serious termite and storm damage, officials said.

Smith said the homeowner had the proper permits to do the work.

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