Men Pulled from Pa. Wastewater Plant

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One of four workers who was trapped in a hole at the Sewickley Wastewater Treatment Plant on Thursday has died, authorities said.

The victim has been identified John Hogan III from Baden. He was 31 years-old.

Allegheny County authorities confirmed that the workers became stuck shortly before 1 p.m. at the plant, which sits along Ferry Road near Route 65.

One worker who was down in the 30-foot hole radioed for help after becoming faint and passing out a short time later. Three workers who were on the ground went in to help and ended up passing out in the hole, too, police said.

Authorities said one other worker suffered moderate injuries and a two other workers were released from Allegheny General Hospital Thursday evening. A Sewickley firefighter also suffered a minor injury during the rescue.

"The fire department brought them up," said Chief of Valley Ambulance Authority, J.R. Henry. "We evaluated them. Some had numerous injuries from falling down the ladder inside the pit."

At this time, there is no word on what caused the workers to pass out at the plant, which is undergoing extensive upgrades. Investigators said they think it was a combination of gases. They said the area where the men passed out was about 30 feet below the ground.

Franklin Pounds Jr., 42, of New Castle was one of the injured men according to his father. Franklin Pounds Sr. said that he suffered some of the most serious injuries, including several broken bones and a collapsed lung.

Pounds Sr. said his son was one of the first people to try and assist the man who fell into the 30 feet deep pit. He said his son’s supervisor called him Thursday afternoon to tell him what happened.

“My son and an inspector and another gentleman went down to help him and my son was overcome by gas and fell about 20 feet. The other two gentlemen were overcome and they landed on top of him,” said Pounds Sr. “Right now I haven’t seen him but they think he broke his leg, some ribs and they have him on oxygen.”

The other victims’ names have not been released.

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