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Tampa man dies after falling into tanker; father critical

10:55 AM, Jun 30, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida - A Tampa man is dead, and his father is in critical condition, after they both fell into a tanker they were working on.

Hillsborough County Fire & Rescue responded to Barnett Transport, a company that hauls hazardous chemicals, around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Early reports suggest Ernesto Gonzalez and his son, Luis Gonzalez, were standing on the roof when a bucket they were using fell inside. The son went into the empty tanker to retrieve the bucket and was knocked unconscious by dangerous fumes.

"The [father] went in to help him get out of the tank and he also fell in," said Nacole Revette, a spokesperson for Hillsborough Co. Fire Rescue.

Rescue crews were forced to use hazard suits to get close to the tank and lower a rope into the tanker.

"We know that there is no product in the truck, but because of the fumes, the two people that entered the truck had become overwhelmed by the fume created by that product," said Revette.

Both men were still unconscious when they were pulled from the tanker and taken to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition. Luis Gonzalez was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The men reportedly came in contract with hydrogen sulfide, which can be absorbed into the clothes and skin.

"It displaces the oxygen in your lungs and causes you to become unconscious," said Revette.

Both men had to be washed down or decontaminated before being loaded into the ambulance.


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