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Man killed in trench collapse remembered as hard worker

Posted at 9:11 PM, Nov 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-08 22:47:47-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Family and friends are mourning the loss of the man who was killed in a tragic construction accident Saturday afternoon.

Authorities said two men were working in a trench at a home on Grand Rapids' north east side when it collapsed, burying the two under concrete and debris.

One man was rescued, but the other died on scene.

Relatives and friends identify that man as 34-year-old Oscar Rocha Alonso, who they tell FOX 17 was 'a man of good spirit.'

With the help of an interpreter, FOX 17 spoke to Alonso's friend, Octavio Almazan, Sunday afternoon.

"I can't believe what happened, I don't know, I don't understand,"  Almazan said.

Authorities said when the cement porch collapsed Sunday afternoon, both men were trapped underneath. Rescue and recovery operations took several hours.

"They basically dug a hole in the earth next to the house. It looks like they were doing some repairs on the sewer lines that ran to the street," said Bart Perry, Batalian Fire Chief with the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

Alonso died from crushing injuries, according to authorities.

"Oscar was happy every day; In the morning, in the night, on the weekend too," Almazan said.

FOX 17 learned Alonso is originally from Mexico. Almazan said his friend moved to Grand Rapids nearly 18 years ago, and it was soon after the two became roommates and best friends.

“He was a fun guy, hard-worker, he was always happy working five days a week," Almazan said.  "He was always taking care of his girls, he was a good person."

Alonso worked in construction. He leaves behind his wife and two little girls, just 6 and 7 years old, friends confirmed.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the girls, it’s something that’s going to be painful for them because they were always looking for him," Almazan said. "We’ll have to help them step-by-step and explain what happened,"

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Alonso's family transport his body back to Mexico for burial.

Almazan said the other man involved in the accident is still recovering in the hospital.