Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Deadly Confined Space Incident in Queens

NEW YORK - A man, his son and a co-worker hired to clean a putrid dry well at a waste transfer station died Monday when the son fell into a space filled with toxic fumes and the other two went to help him, authorities said.



The son had slipped down a narrow shaft, police said, and his father had grabbed a ladder and climbed down to rescue him while their co-worker followed.



Police identified the victims as Shlomo Dahan, 49, and Harel Dahan, 23, both of Brooklyn, and Rene Francisco Rivas, 52, of Queens.



Dahan family friend Abe Rosenthal arrived at the privately owned site in Queens with a rabbi after learning of Monday afternoon's accident. He said Shlomo Dahan owned a sewer company and his son worked with him.



"I can't believe what happened," Rosenthal said. "He was the sweetest guy, a good father."



Dahan and his son were cleaning out a dry well that collects construction water and waste from the transfer station, where garbage is sorted for recycling. The entrance to the dry well is through a manhole that's 3 feet wide and leads to a catch basin 18 feet deep.



The workers apparently were overcome by hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas common in wells like the one being cleaned, said John Sudnik, fire department deputy assistant chief of the Queens borough command. The medical examiner will determine what caused their deaths.



The gas is created by water and decomposing garbage. About 100 parts per million of the gas in the air is considered very dangerous, and Sudnik said crews were recording readings at the scene of 200 parts per million.



He said the workers were subcontractors at the Royal Waste Services transfer station, which is attached to the Regal Recycling company. A man who answered the phone there had no immediate comment.



Emergency crews were called around 2:30 p.m. Monday and were on the scene seven minutes later. The workers were dead by the time rescuers reached them, Sudnik said. It took about 20 minutes to pull their bodies from the well.



The transfer station is in an industrial area, with a gravel road leading to the facility, not far from a Long Island Rail Road station. The stench of garbage permeates the area. A sign saying "putrescible solid waste" and another that says "No drums, asbestos, hazardous materials, medical waste or tires" hang at the gate.



___



Associated Press writer Virginia Byrne contributed to this report.



RELATED ARTICLES

FERNO's New 'Proof of Concept' Ambulance has the EMS Industry Talking

You'll hear a lot more about this innovative new ambulance interior, so I will just highlight what its most impressive offerings are to me: Interchangable, c...

Washington State Signs Community Paramedicine Bill into Law

With a lot of passion and perseverance, it’s possible to change the history of EMS.

Firefighters Rescue Man Who Wedged Inside Wall to Evade Cops

A central Indiana man who hid inside a wall in his home to avoid arrest had to berescued by firefighters after he became wedged next to its chimney for ...

17 Patients Evaluated After Plane Makes Emergency Landing

SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow said new information from medical personnel confirmed that "a total of three passengers reported a loss of consciousnes...

Nurse Practitioner Now Responding to EMS Calls with Green Valley Fire

The district has started a first of its kind program that brings urgent medical care right into a patient's home.

New WTC Study Focuses on EMS Personnel

New research shows that EMS workers who went to Ground Zero suffer from poor health.

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers