Two kids trapped in a North Carolina construction site were found dead amid the debris at the scene Monday morning.
The kids, cousins Chole Jade Arwood, 6, and 7-year-old James Levi Caldwell, were found early Monday morning by rescue crews dispatched to the Denver, N.C., construction site near Charlotte, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The tragedy unfolded when a man building a house at the construction site was digging out a planned basement and a wall of dirt collapsed around the two cousins Sunday night, according to WBTV. The children were trying to recover a pick ax that fell down a small hole when the collapse occurred.
The trapped kids were found dead underneath 24 feet of dirt at the Cedarbrook Drive construction site.
“These were horrific circumstances,” Lincoln County Emergency Management spokesman Dion Burleson told the paper.
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Chloe was from Gastonia, N.C., and James was from Stanley, N.C.
The rescue effort included a crew of 75 from four North Carolina counties. The crew began their rescue effort at 6 p.m. Sunday. The rescue turned into a recovery operation around 9:30 p.m. Rescuers found the dead kids about 10 hours later.
Jennifer Housley, a neighbor on the block where the collapse occurred, knew the children and said she would have to have a difficult conversation with her son about the dead cousins.
"I told [my son] let's just wait and make sure what happened and then we will talk about all that in a serious conversation then," she told WBTV.
Dion Burleson of the Denver Fire Department said the rescuers were hit hard emotionally by the deaths of the children.
"Many in our community have felt the impact of this event. Included in those who have been significantly impacted are the very rescuers who worked so hard to free these two precious children," he said.
"The Lincoln County Critical Incident team of chaplains was called in to assist the family of the victims as well as emergency responders working on site," Burleson said. "Many times our firefighters and rescue personnel are able to remedy the emergencies that they are called to. Incidents such as this are very difficult for responders to deal with due to not being able to make a significant difference in the outcome."