MONROE COUNTY, FL, JANUARY 16, 2016 -- Three Florida utility workers died when they became trapped in a wastewater trench in the Keys today.
The workers were overcome by fumes when they went into a drainage manhole to look into a dip in a newly paved road. A firefighter who went to rescue the workers was also affected, and needed to be airlifted a local hospital, where he remains in serious condition.
The county-contracted workers were in the 15-foot hole investigating a dip in the road, according to a county official. A mixture of hydrogen sulfide and methane gases overcame the workers.
According to a local newspaper, the workers were employees of D.N. Higgins, a private contractor with a Florida branch office in Naples.
Typically, drainage hole are equipped with vents to prevent buildup of hazardous gasses. A formal investigation has been launched, along with the local OSHA office.
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