Poisonous Manhole Fumes Claim Lives of 3 Utility Workers

KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — Three underground utility workers have died while investigating a sewage backup.

According to Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark, one of the men working for the county’s contractor, Douglas N. Higgins, went down a drainage manhole Monday morning to investigate why a newly paved Key Largo road was settling nearby.

Clark says the worker got trapped, and then three other workers, a firefighter and two sheriff’s deputies tried to help him.

The Miami Herald reports ( http://ow.ly/1gqw308cJoU) the manhole was filled with hydrogen sulfide and methane gas created from years of rotted vegetation, and that none of the men wore masks or carried the vitally important air packs that likely would have saved their lives.

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