Around 9 am this morning, 29 firetrucks in total responded to a 3-alarm technical rescue at the northbound I-5 off-ramp at Pacific Avenue in Everett. The Department of Transportation (DOT) alerted 9-1-1 this morning when a manmade tunnel that officials believed to be a makeshift camp located off the side of the offramp seemed to collapse possibly stranding one or more individuals. After initial reports of a possible collapse, authorities announced the tunnel was intact but covered at the entrance.
After six hours of searching, rescue workers reached the end of the 45-foot tunnel and concluded that no one was inside.
Jordan Longacre, Communications Supervisor for Traffic Maintenance and Operations for the DOT explained that a street-cleaning crew on Wednesday night noticed a man pop out of the bushes and run off. “When they went to investigate, that’s when they discovered the hole,” said Longacre. “Nobody was there so they waited until morning to come back and that’s when they realized the hole was much larger than they originally anticipated.”
Longacre continued to explain that when the DOT crew arrived in the morning it seemed as if somebody had put rocks in front of it and was blocking the entrance from the inside. That is when the crew called 9-1-1.
Monica Clow, 26, was arriving to work at the Keller Supply Kitchen and Bath Showcase store on Pacific when the incidence in question was unraveling. “When we got to work there were a couple city workers out there, which is pretty usual for them to be working in the field. Next thing we knew, a ton of firetrucks, medics and police showed up.”
Longacre stressed the importance of unearthing where the tunnel leads. “It’s a very big offramp and if that tunnel comes too close to the road, we would be concerned with the stability of it,” said the DOT spokesperson.
Three excavators, a DOT Vacuum Excavator, and dozens of first responders spent the day digging through rock and dirt to ultimately find nothing but a few backpacks, a pair of snow skis and a pair of shoes.
Responders anticipated the tunnel to be approximately three feet deep and eight feet long, but once the digging commenced, they realized it was 45-feet long.
The northbound I-5 off-ramp was closed for approximately six hours, but the DOT announced the ramp will reopen around 4 pm today. Click on the Twitter thread below and you can scroll through all the photo’s and videos taken by me during the search and rescue effort.
On the scene at Walnut and Pacific Avenue in Everett where a pedestrian may be stuck in a collapsed tunnel that they built. Multiple fire districts have responded. The situation is ongoing. pic.twitter.com/Cb4ZnaYrV7
— Daniel Albert (@_Daniel_Albert) July 15, 2021