TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The night shift ended tragically for a worker and a firefighter who fell to their deaths down a manhole in Westchester County.
Police believe the firefighter was trying to save the other man and climbed down the manhole to do so and died in the process.
It was a frantic scene Monday night as emergency crews from throughout Tarrytown rushed to Consolidated Firehouse 77 trying to save the lives of two local men who were just out doing their job, CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“Our prayers all go out to the families of these two men,” Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell said.
Authorities said Tarrytown Public Works employee Anthony Rugierro answered a call for a sewer problem behind the firehouse on Sheldon Ave. Volunteer Firefighter John Kelly was assisting Rugierro.
“We had a sewer blockage which then created a situation which…prompted the DPW employee and ultimately the firefighter to go down the manhole,” Village Administrator Michael Blau said, “they started to go down in to the manhole. They then passed out and fell into the manhole.”
Blau said Rugierro was the first to be overcome by sewage fumes. Firefighter Kelly had followed him in to try to pull him out, but he also succumbed to the gases.
When help arrived, the two men were unconscious in the manhole. Emergency response teams pulled the men out around 6:30 p.m. and performed CPR, but neither man was able to be revived.
“The firefighters and the public work employees who were here, when they heard…they were truly broken up. These are good, good men. They had friends throughout the community,” Blau said.
Authorities said the deaths of the two men were still under investigation.