Middletown, OH Confined Space Incident – FF’s Down


Friday, May 7, 2010 A 32-year-old city worker is dead after being overcome by fumes this morning while checking a sewer outside of a business on Yankee Road, according to police.

Meanwhile, two firefighters who attempted to rescue the public works employee were hospitalized after the accident about 8 a.m. today, May 7, in front of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., 2500 Yankee Road, according to police.

Jabin Lakes died after falling into a manhole during an inspection, according to Police Maj. Mark Hoffman.

Firefighters went into rescue Lakes and were overcome with something in the shaft, he said. It is not clear what the substance is, according to Hoffman.

Fire Marshal Bob Hess was taken to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown and Capt. Todd Wissemier was taken to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, according to Hoffman.

The manhole is estimated to be about 20 to 30 feet deep and 20 to 22 inches wide, Hoffman said.

Mayor Larry Mulligan could not discuss details of the incident but said the city will hold a press conference today at 2 p.m. in council chambers, One Donham Plaza.

A coroner’s investigator is at the scene as well as fire rescue units from West Chester Twp., Fairfield and Franklin. The deceased man is still in the hole at 9:55 a.m.

Shortly before 10 a.m., crews were performing air quality tests on the manhole, Hoffman said. He said there does not appear to be any hazard to the general public in the area. At 10:12 a.m., crews on scene were requesting a chemist from AK Steel be sent to the manhole.

Air Products officials were in a meeting regarding the incident and couldn’t be reached for comment. The Allentown, Pa.-based company provides oxygen to AK Steel’s Middletown Works.

Hoffman said Lakes and two other city workers were inspecting the sewer about 8 a.m. because Air Products was interested in tapping into a main line. When the manhole cover was opened, Lakes was overcome by fumes and fell into the hole, he said.

The workers called 911 and fire crews arrived shortly thereafter, Hoffman said.

About Francelle Theriot

Francelle is a Louisiana native, artist, blogger, sister, wife, mother, daughter, friend, and world traveler. She has a long career in producing award winning art for the screen, print and interiors as founding partner of a design firm. She is now focusing her energy on fine art to share her idea of beauty and emotion with everyone. Her eclectic style depicts American life from a creative mother's point of view, and includes watercolor, acrylic, and mixed media.
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