Michigan man killed after trench collapses while working alone, officials say

A Michigan man was killed Monday when a trench collapsed while he was working by himself in a construction trench, officials said.

The worker, who was a contractor hired to tap into the city’s water line, was working at the construction site in Sterling Heights, 23 miles north of Detroit, when the walls caved in just before 1:30 p.m., FOX2 Detroit reported.

"He was digging a trench and he was down there trying to connect to the water pipe and he did not shore up the walls and the trench collapsed on him," Sterling Heights Fire Chief Christ Martin told the news site.

The contractor who had hired the man was on site when the collapse happened, but couldn’t make it to the man fast enough.

"He was about 11 1/2, 12 feet down in some kind of mucky wet clay," Martin told FOX2 Detroit.

Dozens of firefighters responded to the scene in an attempt to save the man. By 4 p.m. officials said they were operating “in body recovery mode.” The man was found dead just after 5 p.m.

The man’s name will not be released and the company who hired him is under investigation.

Martin said the worker shouldn’t have been in the trench alone and that safety practices were not properly implemented in the deadly situation.

"There are steps that contractors can take to make it safe and that wasn't done here," Martin said. 

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam