Toxic Fumes Blamed in Death of Workers

posted on:
December 11, 2007

author:
Staff

category:
Environmental

Toxic fumes are believed to have killed four workers whose bodies were pulled from a 20-foot deep well near a blacktop demolition company. Rescuers recovered the bodies from the well, which is located in Superior, Wisconsin, on the night of November 1st.

The victims are believed to be employees of the company that owns the site. It was not known at press time why the victims were in the well or what they were doing. A sign near the site identified the business as Lakehead Blacktop Demolition Landfill.

The well contained water and hydrogen sulfide fumes, which are commonly released with sewer products. The victims apparently were overcome, although autopsies will be performed in order to determine the cause of their deaths.

We are currently investigating a similar claim in Georgia where an employee was killed. Julia Beasley and Kendall Dunson from our firm are handling that potential claim. As you may know, hydrogen sulfide gas is poisonous, flammable and colorless and gives off a strong odor of rotten eggs.

At high concentrations, people can lose the ability to smell this gas, making it extremely dangerous. Brief exposure to high concentrations can cause difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. In this incident, firefighters with breathing equipment led the recovery effort, and workers pumped water out to assist in the recovery. The victims died before the rescuers arrived.

If you need additional information relating to hydrogen sulfide gas, go to the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov.

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