Queens, NY – Jewish Father and Son Among 3 Sewer Workers Killed in Manhole

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    Shlomo Dahan and his son Heral were RL Killed (Photo by Lou Minutoli / June 29, 2009)Queens, NY – Three workers hired to clean a putrid well at a waste transfer station apparently were overcome by toxic fumes, fell down a narrow shaft and died.

    Initially one worker went into the shaft, and the other two went in after him when he didn’t return, said John Sudnik, fire department deputy assistant chief of the Queens borough command. They all fell through the shaft and into the well.

    The workers were hired to clean out a basin intended to catch water and waste from the transfer station, where garbage is sorted for recycling. The entrance to the basin is through a manhole 3 feet wide and 18 feet long. It isn’t clear how far they got down before they fell.


    The men likely were overcome by hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas common in wells like the one they were hired to clean, Sudnik said.

    The gas is created by water and decomposing garbage. About 100 parts per million of the gas in the air is considered incredibly dangerous, and crews were getting readings at the scene of 200 parts per million, Sudnik said.
    Yigal Lalush a partner comforts the son of Shlomo Dahan, who died yesterday with another son, Harel (inset left), and Rene Francisco Rivas (inset right) at Regal Recycling in Queens.
    Emergency crews got a call around 2:30 p.m. and were on the scene seven minutes later. By the time they reached the workers, they were dead, Sudnik said. It took about 20 minutes to pull them out.

    The waste transfer station, called Royal Waste Services, is attached to the Regal Recycling company. A person who answered the phone there wouldn’t comment.

    The transfer station is in an industrial stretch of Queens, with a dirt road leading to the facility, not far from a Long Island Rail Road station. The stench of garbage permeates the area. A sign saying “putrescible solid waste” and another that says “No drums, asbestos, hazardous materials, medical waste or tires” hang at the gate.

    Abe Rosenthal, who said he was a friend of one of the victims, arrived on the scene with a rabbi after getting a call about the accident. He said his friend was the owner of the company and possibly died with a son who worked with him.

    “I can’t believe what happened,” Rosenthal said. “He was the sweetest guy, a good father.”

    **UPDATE** 9:30 PM
    The 3 victims have been identified as 49-year-old Shlomo Dahan, his 23-year-old son, Harel Dahan, both of Brooklyn, and 52-year old Rene Franc.

    The Dahan’s are the owners of Dahan Sewer

    Chesed Shel Emes is working with the Medical Examiner to avoid an autopsy

    **UPDATE** 10:45 AM
    The Levaya will be held today 3:30 PM at Shomrei Hadas Chapel 3803 14th Avenue Brooklyn

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    27 COMMENTS

    1. Confined Space kills. You need a CS permit and CS rescue training before you can go in, and you can only go in with a harness through a tripod and attendants outside. This is serious business and one of OSHA’s biggest focul points

    2. Confined Space kills. You need a CS permit and CS rescue training before you can go in, and you can only go in with a harness through a tripod and attendants outside. This is serious business and one of OSHA’s biggest focul points

    3. Baruch Dayan Haemes. I knew these people. They were the most honest business people that I knew. If anyone has information as to where and when the levaya will take place, PLEASE post it.

    4. What’s going on lately!! For the past few days VIN didn’t stop publishing stories about accidents, deaths and more death cases…

      Yidden, its time for tshuva!! Hashem is calling for us. He’s calling to his dear children to turn to their father in heaven. To go for the real truth. Only then will he send Moshiach iy”h and the world will only know of pure gitz.

      Should the family of those and all other jewish individuals that lost their lives in the last couple of days be menachem…

    5. Hello I feel bad for the Family,loosing 2 family members is very bad. Something is Not sound “kosher” with what happened with this 3 people ,why? Because Jewish People very smart,the Father and the Son doing this Business a long ,long time,was not the 1st time they went down in a sewer…… Now look at the facts….. something was very smelly rotten garbage down there with all those “killer gases” the 2 Professionals Father and Son did not know about those dangerous gas????
      Sure they know about the Gas…….but they also know it was not deadly,but in this Waste Management Company, probably the sewer was blocked so much,the Pump could not suck it up,because the clog down there. Now …the Waste Company must known, it was clogged so badly,that is why call the Father & Son to clean it.About the Deadly Gas…….I think.someone must put some kind of strong solvent down there to try clear the sewer manually…or chemically in this case.The strong solvent could not brake down the clogged garbage,what is did is created Heavy Poison Gas,then when the Father & Son arrived,they Opened the Manhole Cover,the gases find an Escape Route UP …….it was so Strong ,in one inhale the human brain could not take it. This is my Opinion ….what else could happened? Sorry for the long explanation ,but I’m not a Idiot…..and Forget what you see on the TV……..Yous your brain…what GOD give to all of US. One more thing….I was at the seen all day long,I know the neighborhood. All of them R.I.P.

      • I know I’ve responded to your post before but it’s such a gold mine of misinformation and ingnorance that I can’t help but make more observations;

        1. H2S is regularly found in sewers and trash sumps.
        2. H2S is known to be deadly and if they didn’t know that the couldn’t have been in business long.
        3.H2S is heavier than air so it won’t ” go up” when the manhole cover is raised. They would have had to go into the sump to breathe it.
        4. There is nothing unusual about manually cleaning clogged sewers abd sumps. No one uses “solvents”.
        5. Although H2S has a distinctive smell, in high concentrations it paralyzes your sense of smell and you cannot smell it.

        Industrial jobs can be dangerous. That’s why we have rules and procedures. I don’t doubt that if the proper safety procedures had been followed, father and son would still be alive.

    6. (Reply to #20) chesed shell emes made sure that they won’t make an autopsy, and they had a member sit at the M.E. Office the whole night, there was no bizoien hames B”H! what so ever (thanx to chesed shell emes)

    7. ברוך דין האמת המקום ינחם ולא נוסיף לדאבה עוד
      2 all the families & their friends
      שנשמע רק בשורות טובות אמן במהרה

    8. it is so unbeliveble the father is my landlord i eat by them on shabbat.
      hashem must really want them close to him because they are so great!!
      malach hamavet comes in many shapes and forms.
      it is all from hashem.
      all we have to do is to take care and help the loved once…

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