Man dies trying to save brother from sewer hole collapse in ETX - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Man dies trying to save brother from sewer hole collapse in ETX

Authorities, relatives identify man killed in East Texas cave-in. (Source: KSLA News 12) Authorities, relatives identify man killed in East Texas cave-in. (Source: KSLA News 12)
A man died while trying to save his brother when a sewer pipe hole collapsed Tuesday in Joaquin, Texas, authorities say. (Source: KSLA News 12) A man died while trying to save his brother when a sewer pipe hole collapsed Tuesday in Joaquin, Texas, authorities say. (Source: KSLA News 12)
JOAQUIN, TX (KSLA) -

Joaquin, Texas, volunteer firefighters did everything possible to help all three men who were in a trench that collapsed Tuesday, a Fire Department member said.

His comments came in response to criticism from relatives of the brothers involved in the accident.

"We were able to help two of them. One of them we were not," Joaquin volunteer firefighter Stephen Ewing said.

"That is a tragedy. But we did everything possible we could do to help those men."

East Texas authorities have identified 52-year-old Patrick Parks, of Joaquin, as the man who died while trying to save his brother when the sewer pipe hole collapsed.

The accident happened about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on East Saddle Street in Joaquin, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office reports.

Parks' brother, identified by family members as Lloyd Parks, was flown to University Health in Shreveport. They say he is expected to survive.

"It was a tragedy," Joaquin Mayor Bill Baker said. "The city is investigating it. All of the proper authorities have been notified. And they also are investigating it."

Family members of the brothers say the city should have done more to save the life of their loved one.

"Should've done more … Should've done more … . Half of them standing around up here on this level while that man was down there in that hole," said Don Thompson, a cousin of the Parks brothers.

Thompson said Patrick Parks, who was not a city worker, reportedly was helping his brother Lloyd and another city worker when tragedy struck.

"Sometimes his brother comes by and he helps him Sometimes they get him to help out. So this particular time, they must have told him they needed his help."

A contractor and two municipal workers were attempting to clasp sewer pipes together when the east wall of the hole they were in collapsed, allowing mud to pour in, the Sheriff's Office reports.

The contractor was able to escape the hole unhurt, but the city employees became trapped. 

That's when an onlooker jumped into the hole to save his brother but was killed when the other side of the hole collapsed, authorities said. 

Rescue personnel were able to free the city workers, but the onlooker did not survive.

It's a version of the story Thompson thinks is incorrect.

"They had asked my partner 'Did he jump in and save him?' He said no, he was already inside the ditch down off in there, like way at the back … where that pipe at. ... That's where they were."

Jan Zuniga said she was the one who called 911.

"I was floored, I was absolutely floored. … I wish I could do more, but there was just nothing I could do."

She said she saw Lloyd Parks when she arrived on the scene.

"Lloyd was stuck right over here waist deep, but Pappy (Patrick) was already covered up. ... And they left him down there for so long, he didn't survive," Zuniga said.

“Man, it was about 11 o'clock before they got Patrick out," Thompson said. "… I mean he stayed there about 3 to 4 hours underwater the whole while … face down.”

Now the small East Texas town is reeling.

And firefighters say their thoughts and prayers are with the Parks family.

"It's a very close-knit community; and they always pull together in times like this," said Baker, the mayor.

Copyright 2017 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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