/jcreiterlaw.com/Jonathan C. Reiter/ 07/01/2009
New York, NY–New York Fire Rescue Squad 270 recovered the bodies of three South Ozone Park contractors, including a father and son, at the bottom of a toxic well, at the Regal Recycling Company on Monday, May 29th. As reported by the New York Times, NYPD officers identified one of the victims as 49 year-old Shlomo Dahan, a Flushing, Queens man, and owner of S. Dahan Piping and Heating Corporation. Dahan is a South Ozone Park contractor who was hired to clean the toxic well, at the Regal Recycling Company, at 172-06 Douglas Avenue in Jamaica.
FDNY officials confirmed the toxic well contained a concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas, double the amount environmental experts assert to be lethal. The toxic well’s gas measurement was 200 parts per million, and an exposure to 50 parts per million for 10 minutes can be lethal. The New York Firefighter Robert Lagnese, who descended the lethal well, was equipped with hazardous materials protective clothing and an enclosed breathing apparatus. Lagnese, with Rescue 270, is a 6-year veteran with special training to work in confined spaces in the presence of highly toxic materials.
Apparently, Dahan was contracted to pump out the well and began to vacuum the toxic sludge at about 2 p.m., on Monday, with his son, 23 year-old Harel Dahan of East 73rd Street in Brooklyn, and another worker, 52 year-old, Rene Francisco Rivas, of Jamaica Avenue in Queens. It is believed Harel went into the hole first and his father and Rivas attempted to rescue him after he fell victim to the toxic fumes. All three men died in the tragic work site accident. NYPD detectives are investigating if Dahan and his crew were even informed about the presence of the hydrogen sulfide gas, which is a known common byproduct of organic matter waste.
The Douglas Avenue industrial neighborhood, in Queens, is a haven for waste collection companies and sits just opposite of the Long Island Rail Road tracks. The Regal Recycling hole the Dahans were contracted to vacuum out is a catch basin for runoff water from garbage and debris from the recycling yard. A sign at the gate clearly says: “No drums, asbestos, hazardous materials, medical waste or tires.” It is imperative when contractors are hired to clean and demolish waste areas they are made aware of toxic materials and gas so they can be armed with appropriate protective work equipment.
News contact: New York personal injury attorney Jonathan C. Reiter, a construction accident lawyer. Telephone (212) 736-0979. www.jcreiterlaw.com
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