Man Dies From ‘Toxic Fumes’ While Cleaning Semi-Tanker Hauling Chicken Byproduct
Logansport, IN – A 27-year-old man was killed at an Indiana truck stop on Friday after he was “overcome by toxic fumes” while cleaning a tanker truck that had been hauling chicken byproduct.
The incident occurred on Friday, August 27 at the Heartland Truck Stop and Wash, located at 3047 West County Road 300 South in Logansport.
Authorities said Hector Moises Ramos Gutierrez, of Logansport, tragically died after falling into an emptied tanker that had been hauling chicken byproducts.
The byproducts — which would have included chicken entrails and other parts of the chicken not suitable for human consumption — had been inside the tanker for about a week, Cass County Coroner George Franklin said.
According to Franklin, the byproduct was likely to be used to process for use in pet food or fertilizer.
Franklin explained that as the parts decompose inside the tanker, they emit carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide.
He described the emissions as “very deadly,” and informed it only takes three to four minutes to be overcome by the gasses.
Around 3:23 p.m., Gutierrez fell into the tanker.
Police records indicate a witness — whose identity was not made public — saw Gutierrez fall and went into the tanker after him, but was also quickly overcome by the gasses.
At that time, a third man went inside and was able to rescue the second man.
Gutierrez, however, was not able to be retrieved.
In fact, according to the Pharos Tribune, both the Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Clymers Fire Department lacked the proper safety equipment and training to retrieve Gutierrez from the tanker, so officials at the Grissom Air Force Base were called in to recover his body.
The second man who went into the tanker in attempts to help Gutierrez was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for respiratory issues and later released.
Coroner Franklin said the men were employed at the truck washing facility by a subcontractor.
Gutierrez had come to America less than six months ago from Guatemala, the Tribune reported.
Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the death.