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Man killed, Another Seriously Injured After Incident Involving Carbon Monoxide

Updated: Wednesday, July 30 2014, 04:30 PM CDT
San Marcos Fire Officials are warning people about the dangers of carbon monoxide.

San Marcos Fire Marshal Ken Bell says carbon monoxide played a role in the death of one man on Tuesday and serious injury to another on Wednesday.

Rob Schmid, manager of the Texas Parks and Wildlife A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery on Staples Road, was pronounced dead after he was found unresponsive in an underground chamber about 15 feet below the surface late Tuesday afternoon, a press release said.

Officials say Schmid was working on the hatchery’s pump system when it appears he was overcome by carbon monoxide from a gas-powered pump.

The cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

It took crews an hour and a half to bring the victim out of the chamber.

Air monitoring tests showed high levels of carbon monoxide in the chamber exceeding five times the permissible exposure limit, Bell said.

Then early Wednesday morning, police were called to  a second incident at a work site in the 100 block of Wonder World Drive. Police say a construction worker was taken to the University Hospital in San Antonio to undergo treatment in a hyberbaric chamber. His condition is unknown.  Officials say EMS crews found the worker had been exposed to large amounts of carbon monoxide.

“In this second incident detection measurements were well above the OSHA standards for exposure to such a gas, almost three times the maximum level authorized,” Bell said.

The worker was using a concrete saw cut machine indoors without proper ventilation, a press release said.  A nearby store had to be ventilated after officials found it too was filled with the poison gas from the construction.

Officials are still investigating both incidents.

“Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer,” Bell said.  “We want to re-emphasize these dangers in the light of two exposure cases in the last day. People tend to forget the danger associated with this deadly gas in small spaces. This is a colorless and odorless gas that cannot be detected without special equipment.”

General awareness and good ventilation prevent most dangers associated with this gas, he added. Usually this concern arises in the winter time with enclosed spaces and heaters or fireplaces.

Man killed, Another Seriously Injured After Incident Involving Carbon Monoxide

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