Work-Related Accident Update: Sewer Gases Killed Men Found in Maine Sewer Tank

09/29/2011 // WPB, FL, USA // Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Kennebunkport, ME — The cause of death of the two men who were pulled from a sewage pump tank on Tuesday, September 27, 2011, has been revealed by Maine’s chief medical examiner. Autopsies revealed that the men died from inhaling sewer gases, reported The Kennebec Journal.

Richard Kemp, 70, of Monmouth, and Winfield Studley, 58, of Windsor found they died from “hydrogen sulfide toxicity in a confined space with terminal inhalation of sewage,” according to Kennebunk-port Police Department’s news release.

High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide can result in the inability to breathe, unconsciousness and death. Hydrogen sulfide is a toxic gas created by bacteria in the sewage.

Kemp and Studley were at the Lodge at Turbots Creek to work on a submersible pump at the motels sewage tank.

Officials revealed that neither of the victims was wearing any special breathing apparatuses when their bodies were found.

According to police, at around 11 a.m. a motel employee reported smelling sewage. They noticed the men’s truck, but did not see the two men. After becoming suspicious, the employee called police. A septic company arrived at the motel and began pumping out the nine-foot deep concrete holding tank, when they noticed one of the men’s bodies had floated to the surface. A few minutes later, the other man’s body was also found, as previously reported in “Maine Work-Related Accident: Two Men Found Dead in Septic Tank at Motel.”

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating the fatal work-related accident.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Maine work-related accident lawyers.

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