Navigation Links
Five Killed by Methane Gas on Virginia Farm

Sanitary workers cleaning septic tanks trapped by methane gas is commonplace in developing countries like India.

It is now catching up in the West too. Fiver persons fell victims to the deadly methane emanating from a manure pit in a dairy farm in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, US Monday evening.

Scott Showalter, 34, a Mennonite farmer who climbed into the pit to unclog a pipe was the first to be killed by methane. His wife, two young daughters and a farmhand followed in his trail.

Farmers typically take pains to ventilate manure pits where methane often gathers. A family member questioned whether cattle feed could have trickled into the pit and accelerated the formation of the gas.

"You cannot smell it, you cannot see it, but it's an instant kill," explained Dan Brubaker, a family friend who oversaw the construction of the pit decades earlier.

About once a week, waste is pumped from the roughly 9-foot-deep pit into a larger pond. When something clogged the drain, Showalter shimmied through the 4-foot opening into the enclosure, which is similar to an underground tank. He would have climbed down a ladder into about 18 inches of manure.

"It was probably something he had done a hundred times," Sheriff Donald Farley said. "There was gas in there and he immediately succumbed."

Believing Showalter had suffered a heart attack, police said, a farmhand followed him moments later and also passed out.

That's when another farm worker alerted Showalter's wife, Phyillis.

"The family took off to try to get him," said Sonny Layman, who rents a house on the farm. "Phyillis threw the phone out at me and asked me to dial 911." Layman instead followed her and two of the Showalter's four children.

By the time he got to the pit a few feet away, "They were all gone, except Phyillis."

Layman said he tried to pull the woman out of the pit but could not. She died, along with daughters Shayla, 11, and Christina, 9, and farmhand Amous Stoltzfus, 24.

The Showalters' two surviving daughters were being cared for by family members.

On Tuesday, a cousin of Scott Showalter's questioned whether runoff from a pile of brewer's grain had accelerated the formation of the gas. Scott Showalter had been using the grain to feed his cattle.

"It rained, and some of it ran down into this holding pit, it fermented and made a toxic gas," said Bruce Good, who saw Showalter about once a week.

Whether the victims suffocated from the fumes, drowned or died of another cause might never be known. No autopsies were planned, in part because investigators were satisfied that the deaths were accidental, the sheriff's office said.

The deaths struck hard in this picturesque farming region dotted with red barns, gleaming silos and church steeples that peak above rolling fields.

The Showalter clan is well known in the community where neighbors do each other's laundry. On Tuesday, friends tended to the family's animals.

"The cows have to be milked twice a day, even in an ordeal like this," said Frank Showalter, Scott's great uncle, standing a few feet from where his relatives died.

The Showalters milked 103 cows on their farm west of Harrisonburg in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. They belonged to a conservative Mennonite church whose members shun many of the trappings of modern society but drive cars, use telephones and, according to police, take modern farm-safety precautions.

Fellow church members were in shock Tuesday, said the Rev. Nathan Horst, a Mennonite bishop.

"We've never had a tragedy of this magnitude," he said.

Doug Michael, a childhood friend of Scott's, described him as a dedicated farmer and a family man.

"Scott was a very likable young man, very friendly, always going out of his way to help anyone who needed a hand," Michael said.


'"/>




Related medicine news :

1. Five Members Of A Family Killed
2. Mother And Daughter Suspected to Be Witches, Killed
3. Heroin, Killed 130 People In US
4. Bacteria Killed By Radiation Serves As an Effective Source of Vaccine
5. Father Who Killed Epileptic Son Says He Misses Him
6. Fact Sheet on Polonium-210 - The Substance That Killed Former Russian Spy
7. Leading Polio Activist Doctor in Pakistan Killed
8. Suspected AIDS Patient Allegedly Killed by In-laws
9. Melamine Contamination Killed Thousands of Pets, Says a New Report
10. 14-year-old Killed in School Shooting in Canada
11. 1 Billion People to Be Killed by Smoking
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June ... sponsor of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, ... of the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... D.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... discuss health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, ... their work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong ... Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. ... to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer ... unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid ... healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, ... ... at CitiDent, is now offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has ... , self-ligating Damon brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Devices Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report to ... the treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, it ... excess fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment ... potassium and chloride in balance. Increasing number ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced ... BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as a dedicated testing solution ... this clearance, Roche is the first IVD company in ... sepsis risk assessment and management. PCT is ... levels in blood can aid clinicians in assessing the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Bracket , a ... its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) ... on June 26 – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia ... electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to fully ... Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: