Archive for Friday, April 2, 2010

Cane molasses not dangerous except in tragic, specific confluence of circumstances

April 2, 2010


An ambulance pulling into Lawrence Memorial Hospital from the site of an industrial accident Thursday had to be quarantined for several hours, as officials from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical analyzed the substance that apparently had caused all the trouble.

Their identification: cane molasses.

“Once it’s exposed to the air and it’s properly ventilated, it can be scrubbed down and washed away with soap and water,” said Jeff Novorr, LMH vice president. “Once we realized what it was, that’s what we did.”

While the molasses might be unusual in that it was being used to enhance fertilizer products at MagnaGro International — “I don’t think it’s the same type of molasses that you would go to Hy-Vee and buy and put on your pancakes,” Novorr said — the normally harmless product can be problematic under certain conditions.

When kept in a confined and enclosed space, Novorr said, gases given off by the material can gather and reach unhealthy concentrations.

“One of which is carbon monoxide, which, ultimately, can be fatal,” Novorr said. “When it’s used and stored in ventilated areas, you wouldn’t have the accumulation of gas.”

Novorr emphasized that he was unfamiliar with specific site conditions at MagnaGro, 600 E. 22nd St., and that he was not involved in or familiar with any investigation to determine exactly what happened Thursday at the site, where two MagnaGro employees died.


Boston_Corbett 8 years, 1 month ago

newsflash. Molasses is molasses. Some sulfured, some not. Washes off with soap and water. I did think the confinement of the ambulance a little much. It's a food and an organic ingredient, not a toxic chemical.

But yes, in a confined tank, you are going to trap CO and CO2.

I bet one worker was overcome, and the other worker was then tragically overcome trying to effect a rescue of the first person before the fire crews arrived.

And I bet that the first worker was taking a shortcut and didn't properly ventilate the tank before he opened it. Then the rescuers were all at risk attempting to retrieve both workers.

Evan OSHA regulations can't force workers to do what they have been instructed and trained to do. And CO is odorless and invisible.

Thanks to the first responders. And prayers to the families and friends of the deceased. CO deaths are so unnecessary.

ralphralph 8 years, 1 month ago

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CornFedGirl 8 years, 1 month ago

I will say this, my uncle Roy died trying to save Brandon's life after he fell into the tank. It was an accident. Boston Corbett, don't talk about things you don't understand or make presumptions. It wasn't about taking short cuts. I wasn't there, but two other family members were. They watched their brother/father-in-law die. The cops were jerks, and you're acting no better. Roy was a good man, who loved and cared for his family. He worked hard, just like the rescue workers do. So far as training is concerned, I guess we'll see about that too. Shame on you for opeining your big mouth. Think before you speak, next time.

kansasmutt 8 years, 1 month ago

Amen (cornfed) Boston should head back to Boston and be a jerk in that crummy state. I am so sorry for your loss. Roy was a great man and i was saddaned to hear about this. I will allways remeber him as the quiet one. RIP Roy, you will be missed.

whatdoyouthink 8 years, 1 month ago

And I bet that the first worker was taking a shortcut and didn't properly ventilate the tank before he opened it. Then the rescuers were all at risk attempting to retrieve both workers.

Evan OSHA regulations can't force workers to do what they have been instructed and trained to do. And CO is odorless and invisible. (posted by Boston_Corbett)

What is wrong with you? Why would you think to post this? Do you not think about the families involved?

It's one thing to have an opinion, but to actually type it out and post it to an article with such disregards to the family's feelings?

I'm speechless.

CornFedGirl 8 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for your support. Pray for his two kids and four grandchildren, they'll miss him most. The thing we all need to remember is that news stories are about real people, with families and friends. Next time you stop to stare at a "train wreck," think about that and move on. There are a lot of good people out there, and sometimes we all say stupid things. No hard feelings, just stop and think before you open your mouth. He died the best way, selflessly helping someone else. He's home now.

KansasPerson 8 years, 1 month ago

CornFedGirl, please accept my condolences on your loss. I will keep you all family members (of both men) in my prayers. And I second what the other poster said. The editors monitored comments on the first article, but I guess they can't do it with all of them. Some people definitely don't think about the reality of the people involved before they type something.

armywife 8 years, 1 month ago

Hey there Boston, you need to think before you speak of things you know nothing about!!! If you'd read ANY of the articles and issues with this company over the past few years you'd know that the owner has been in some serious trouble for OSHA violations. The owner of this plant was put on 5 years probation last year and fined 240,000 dollars for violations. He should have gotten the recommended 5 years prison sentence instead. As for Roy and Brandon they are the INNOCENT victims here not this company nor its owner. I didn't know Roy but from everyone I spoken to he was an outstanding man, who would've put his life in harms way to save another. Brandon was a great guy that I unfortunately only knew briefly. He fell on some hard times after his return home from Iraq, unfortunately this happens more than not BUT Brandon didn't let this stop him from turning his life around. Brandon's dad is a great guy and loved his son more than life itself. I wasn't there and I don't know the training IF any these gentlemen were given but I can bet that the training wasn't up to OSHA rules and regulations. So Boston or anyone else that wants to post some pathetic comment on here, seriously think about what you say because KARMA is a bitch and doesn't discriminate. To the families of Roy and Brandon, you had two wonderful people in your life, remember the good and the bad times, cherish the memories you had with them because they will forever be in your heart and follow you wherever you go. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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