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INDIANAPOLIS–When Adam Collar began installing a sewer pipe for a new neighborhood in east Marion County, near the Hancock County line Wednesday morning, he had no idea that he’d be stuck under three ft. of densely packed dirt for more than three hours.

At 11:23, Indianapolis Fire Dept. personnel got the call that dirt had fallen in on the 36-year-old, trapping him in the five ft. wide trench.

“As the dirt was coming on top of him he created some space around his face and that’s how he was able to breathe,” said Battalion Chief Rita Reith.

The story was one of quick thinking and hard work. After the collapse, firefighters took some of the construction materials and shored up the walls of the trench as they dug, keeping more dirt from falling in and keeping in communication with Collar, once they had dug down far enough to hear him.

The dirt and the air were cold.

“They could actually pump heat into the trench so he could stay warm. We put a turnout coat on him, one of these jackets,” said Reith, describing the thick gear that firefighters wear.

With shovels and air tools, the Indianapolis Fire Dept. Collapse Rescue Team dug until Collar was partially out.

“Once we were able to get him on oxygen and get his head out, he helped a lot,” said Reith. “He was helping dig himself out as much as he could. We had small shovels in there. He was using his hands.”

Collar told his rescuers that he couldn’t feel his legs and when they finally got him out of the hole, (his leg was the last part still stuck) they raised him up and got him to the hospital. Collar was checked out and went home with no permanent damage.