One person was killed after being stuck in a cement tunnel filled with a deadly gas beneath a compost heap near Arvin. One of the victims was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas while in a hole at the Community Recycling Center on Wheeler Ridge Road just before noon Wednesday.
A second man went in to save him but was also stricken. Rescuers used fans to pump safe air into the tunnel and then crawled in using breathing apparatus. "We had one rescuer went into the hole with a harness while other rescuers on the surface were used to pulled them up out of the hole, both victims came out of the hole and rescue crews immediately started CPR, says Sean Collins, ken county fire department.
One teenager later died at the hospital. Coroner's officials say a second victim is hospitalized on a respirator. A third man who remained at the entrance of the hole survived but was treated for inhalation of the fumes. OSHA inspectors were called to investigate.
The facility has been the subject of controversy since 2008 after neighbors complained of foul odors and trash blowing off site.
And in 2010 supervisors ordered the facility to adhere to its permit and stop taking in residential food waste and gypsum wallboard.
The coroner's office has identified one of the victims as 16-year-old Armando Ramirez of Arvin.