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Orange County Digest

Local News in Brief : Brea : Worker Dies in Cave-In at Construction Site

November 05, 1987

A construction worker was killed when the earth above him gave way during excavation for a shopping center near Berry Street and Imperial Highway, police said.

Brea police identified the worker as Carmen Luna Serna, who is believed to have lived in Brea. His age has not been determined, but he was believed to be at least 25, a coroner's spokesman said.

The cave-in occurred while Serna was standing in a 15-foot hole that had been excavated to build a retaining wall, Brea Police Lt. Jim Winder said. He said Serna was apparently preparing the hole to be backfilled when earth above him gave way, burying him under several feet of dirt.

It is not known how long the man was buried, Winder said. The cave-in was discovered by the foreman about 11:35 a.m., Winder said.

The foreman summoned other workers, who helped to dig Serna out. He was pronounced dead at Brea Community Hospital at 12:34 p.m., Winder said.

Police said the site is owned by the Vanderbilt Group of Mission Viejo. A spokeswoman for Vanderbilt said Serna worked for Quality Construction, a firm Vanderbilt operates.

The incident is being investigated by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, according to a spokesman for that agency.

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