One of the workers injured in an industrial accident at the Port of Tampa has died, but investigators are still trying to figure out just what caused the apparent gas leak.
It was around 7 p.m. last night when seven employees of Lanzo Lining Inc. were cleaning the inside of a 96-inch sewer pipe at the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Two of the workers who were inside the sewer pipe were over taken by some sort of fumes. Two other workers went down into the pipe to help their co-workers, but they, too, were overcome by fumes.
The remaining workers attempted to help the other four, but they were also sickened.
In all, seven workers were hospitalized, police say. Four have since been released and one remains at Tampa General Hospital in good condition.
But a 23-year-old man, identified by police as Jesus Jimenez, did not recover.
"We are very saddened to hear of the death of Mr. Jimenez and our thoughts and prayers are with the Jimenez family during this difficult time," the Port Authority said in a press release about the accident.
Investigators suspect that hydrogen sulfide fumes may have displaced the oxygen that the workers needed to breathe, but the source of the gas is still uncertain.
At 11 p.m., Tampa Fire Rescue's Hazmat team found normal hydrogen sulfide readings during their tests. They said the pipe and surrounding area would need further evaluation.
Tampa police are working with Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate the cause.
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