THUMBS DOWN! EXACERBATING A TRAGEDY. Details regarding the deaths of two city employees just keep making things worse for the city. Immediately after Frank Romero, 49, and Gene Hern, 32, were killed when a trench collapsed on May 18, we learned that the 9.5-foot-deep trench hadn’t been properly reinforced. And now, through a Occupational Safety and Health Board report, we’re told two other employees expressed concern about the safety of the situation before the accident, but nothing was done.