MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - Police say a city worker in Ohio apparently overcome by fumes fell into a manhole and died.

Authorities say 31-year-old Jabin Lakes was doing a routine inspection of a sewer line Friday morning when he lost consciousness and fell. Authorities have not determined the source or the type of fumes but say the air was oxygen-depleted. They have closed off the manhole and say there is no public risk.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Three firefighters who tried to rescue Lakes were overcome and taken to hospitals. Officials at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown say 47-year-old Fire Marshal Bob Hess was in fair condition. Another firefighter was treated and released. A message was left at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton seeking 44-year-old Capt. Todd Wissemeier's condition.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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It amazes me that firefighters and other rescuers are still entering confined spaces without respiratory protection.
We've known about confined space respiratory hazards for decades.

Don't enter confined spaces without proper respiratory protection.
for those of us in oil field country, it sounds alot like H2S (hydrogen sulfide) pretty wicked stuff. just an assumption of course. however as Ben pointed out, would have been better to bring along some respiratory protection gear.
oops a big BOZO...NO-NO.....Never enter confined space without gas monitor in place......you might wake up dead.....
Capt. Todd Wissemeier, 44, was lowered into the hole by a rope and was quickly overcome by the same fumes that incapacitated Lakes. Fire Marshal Bob Hess, 47, and firefighter Thomas Allen, 46, who were standing outside the hole also began experiencing respiratory difficulty, city officials said.

Hess and Wissemeier were saved by Middletown police Officer Chris Alfrey, who was holding onto Hess’ belt at the time, Middletown police Maj. Mark Hoffman said.

Hoffman said the firefighters were not wearing a breathing apparatus because they thought they were responding to a fall and knew nothing about air-quality problems.

Wissemeier, a 20-year fire department veteran, was flown by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital, where he remains in the intensive care unit.

Hess, a 19-year veteran, and Allen were treated and released from Atrium Medical Center.

Fire Capt. Greg Justice praised the efforts of both Middletown crews and other local agencies in the rescue effort.

“They’re aggressive men. Very, very brave,” Justice said. “In more instances, they’ll take extraordinary measures to save somebody’s life.”
Carbon Monoxide, Methane, and Hydrogen Sulfide don't care how brave you are.
Two Middletown firefighters apparently overcome by unidentified fumes while trying to rescue a deceased city worker

Would this not be a recovery?


They were not wearing a breathing apparatus because they thought they were responding to a fall, Middletown police Maj. Mark Hoffman said.

Ok, he fell through a manhole and into a sewer. Confined space?

Hoffman said crews ran sensors into the manhole and found oxygen levels of less than 2 percent. A normal level would be 21 percent, he said. Middletown Journal

I do hope for a fast recovery our Ohio brothers. I also hope this will be a "Lesson learned" for others who may think; oh this is just a another FGDB, (fall down go boom). Personal safety is paramount, and proper PPE can ensure going home after your shift, vs the hospital or morgue.
Well stated, Ben... insufficnet O2 doesn't care, either

I am reminded of the song "Oxygen" by Sweet...
"Love is like oxygen...
You get too much you get to high
Not enough and you're gonna die
love makes you high"
agressive and possible dead....that's quite an admirable quality....How do you put that to a family member....? Let's say what is really the issue....WHO F-CKED UP...? and let this happen....?
Multi-Rae and SCBA......don't enter the scene without it!
We had a similar episode here involving a fertilizer spreader (manure) one worker went in to try and free the impeller ,he passed out and another went in ditto,and so on five people were inside by the time we arrived. It was just a recovery by then. I don't know why people act like Lemmings all farm workers are aware of the dangers they face. Or they certainly should be.
Somebody is going to get in trouble!!!!!!!!
I'm going to beg to differ on soem of the comments here- you do not need SCBA or Respiratory Protection for every single confined space rescue.

You do however need to assess every scene and the hazards and atmospheric conditions before entering the scene. A benign space with no atmospheric hazards doesn't require SCBA, etc. But again, we must assess it properly.

I've been involved in the auditing, design, risk assessment, training and so on on numerous confined spaces over the years and there's loads I've assessed or worked in where you simply will not get SCBA in. Airline are the only option, however most companies don't carry them.

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