Worker Found Dead Inside Tanker

Using heavy equipment and cutting tools, authorities cut open a tanker to recover the body of a worker found dead inside after some kind of an industrial accident.

Firefighters received a call at 11:12 a.m. about an explosion and a man working inside the tank at a truck yard in the 7200 block of Alondra Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.  Responders were told a "thud" had been heard.

However, arriving firefighters found no flames or smoke. A worker was discovered unresponsive and lifeless inside the tank.  There was evidence of significant blood loss, said Inspector Richard Licon.

Recovering the body proved difficult, due to the baffling inside the tank, constricting the space, Licon said. After HazMat tested the air, two Urban Search and Rescue team members made entry through a port.

"They were able to get underneath and over to the gentleman," said Licon.  "They became overcome with heat exhaustion and had to come out and get fresh air and get checked up on."

Both firefighters were transported to hospital. Their illness appeared to strictly stem from heat exhaustion, not any chemical exposure, Licon said.  

The decision was made not to send any more personnel through the report, but to cut open the tanker from outside.  Late afternoon, the body was recovered.

His name was not disclosed, pending positive identification by the coroner.

Investigators from both Cal-OSHA and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department responded to the scene.  The Sheriff's investigators said, contrary to initial reports, there was no evidence of a welding accident.  Instead it appeared the worker was conducting some kind of a pressure test when something happened that caused the traumatic injuries.

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