A contract worker trapped in a tank Jan. 22 at the Resolute Forest Products mill in Catawba died from hydrogen sulfide intoxication, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast.
Samir Storey, 39, was one of several contract employees with Tradesmen International, a construction labor support company with offices in Charlotte, who were cleaning a 10-by-40-foot tank in the plants power generation area during a scheduled maintenance outage.
According to his cousin, Jermel Storey, a clear, cloudy smoke entered the tank, triggering emergency alarms, which trapped Samir in the tank. Jermel Storey also was working on the job.
My cousin screamed, Jermel Storey said recently of the accident. Nobody helped. It was like nothing ever happened.
Gast said Samir Storey died within minutes.
Hydrogen sulfide affects the body in two ways, she said. It blocks oxygen from binding with blood cells, and it interrupts the central nervous system, which, in turn, affects the respiratory system.
Gast said blood samples were sent to a special lab for an analysis of chemicals.
The accident is under investigation by state Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors.
Don Worthington • 803-329-4066