Vassallo, Bilotta, Friedman & Davis
Call Today (561) 855-0289

Three construction workers die entering manhole

Tragedy struck the families of three utility workers who died last Sunday, January, 15, 2017, in Key Largo, Florida, when they each attempted to address a paved street that was not properly settling. The tragedy began when one worker descended a manhole try to determine the reason for the problem. He soon when silent, prompting another worker to head down to check on him, fearing the first worker may have been trapped. Again, silence. A third worker, recognizing a serious problem, then descended in an effort to safe his co-workers. He too, did not return.

A Key Largo firefighter then tried to save the men, and too was overcome by toxic fumes, immediately becoming unconscious after entering the hole. He was quickly retrieved and sent to a local hospital, where he was listed in critical condition as of Tuesday. The first three workers were then pulled from the manhole and pronounced dead at the scene. Three additional sheriff deputies were also taken to a hospital for treatment due to the toxic fumes.

Each man, shortly after entering the hole, were overcome by toxic fumes of hydrogen sulfide and methane gas, likely formed by years of rotten vegetation. None of the men equipped themselves with air tanks or masks which likely could have prevented the tragedy and saved their lives.

The workers were on the scene addressing neighbor complaints regarding sewage backups in the community. Following the work-related accident, five households were evacuated to prevent additional exposures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded and will be investigation the incident regarding the death of the three workers and injuries to others.

Source: The Washington Post, "One by one, 3 utility workers descended into a manhole. One by one, they died." By Samantha Schmidt, Jan. 18, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

West Palm Beach Office: 1401 Forum Way | Suite 501 | West Palm Beach, FL 33401 | Map & Directions