Wilkes-Barre, PA Sewer Cave-In, Jun 1915


Philip Stefancin, 49, Victim of Accident While Working for the Borough


Michael Kelly and Andrew Butsavage Have Narrow Escape From Death

Philip Stefancin aged 49, of Plymouth was suffoviated[sic] this morning at 2 o'clock while at work in a sewer trench on Parrish street that place when the side of the trench gave in burying him under tons of earth. Two workmen Michael Kelley and Andrew Butsavage also of Plymouth narrowly escaped a similar fate.

The sewer is being laid under the direction of street commissioner Martin for the borough of Plymouth, and was from Coal to Franklin on Parrish street. Stefancin and the other two workmen were near each other shoveling out the earth and throwing it to the surface above the trench. The trench was eight feet deep. Suddenly without warning there was a slide and the side of the trench came tumbling in on the man Kelley and Butsavage were standing in upright positions and the earth buried them to their chins, there[sic] heads being above ground. Their screams soon attracted the other workmen who came hurring[sic] to their assistance.

It did not take their fellow employees long to extricate them and aside from being given a bad scare they were uninjured.

The rescued men at once informed the other workers that Stefancin had been buried beneath the fall of earth. All hands secured shovels and worked as hard as human strength and endurance permitted them in an effort to unearth the victim. It was twenty minutes, however, before the man was reached. At the time the fall occurred he was stooping over in the act of getting a shovel full of earth and was in a kneeling position when found, with his head bent forward.

William Stork, Nicholas Lamparski and Stanley Burnick, borough employees, led in the rescue work.

Stefancis was lifted from the trench and Dr. H. L. Whitney, who had been summoned said he was dead. Coroner Marley was notified and the body was turned over to Undertaker S. J. Orontkowski, who prepared it for burial. The victim resided on West Main street, Plymouth and is survived by his wife and the following children: John, Emliy, Martin, Mrs. Margaret Buskart and Elmer, the latter of New York City.

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA 4 Jun 1915


The family of Elmer Stefanski, who was killed by the caving of a borough sewer on Parrish street some months ago, asked council what action they intended to take relative to the claim for damages. Attorney Kauchke reported that the family asked for $23,000 damages and the law and ordinance committee would not entertain the claim.

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA 3 Aug 1915