| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free e-book! Protecting and maintaining transmission pipeline

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

3 Painters Found Dead in CA Home

Friday, March 23, 2012

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

California authorities are investigating the deaths of three painters who perished while working in what officials described as a “sealed-off home.”

 Carbon monoxide


Carbon monoxide is suspected in the deaths, although fire crews did not find elevated levels when they arrived at the scene.

The homeowner found the painters, unresponsive, in three different rooms of the house when she returned home just before 3 p.m. on March 16, police said. It was not clear how long the homeowner had been away.

The painters were pronounced dead at the scene, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Cindy Bachman said in an interview. There were no signs of trauma on the men or indications of foul play, officials said.

Although autopsy results were initially expected last week, the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Division said Friday (March 23) that the investigation may take five or six months.

California’s Occupational Safety and Health office (Cal/OSHA) is also investigating. “It’s still early in the investigation, which is ongoing,” Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said in an email Friday.

CO Suspected

Fire crews found a gas-powered air compressor in a bathroom, but the equipment had run out of fuel and stopped operating, officials said. The coroner’s investigator on the scene said the home had been “sealed off.” According to, local temperatures that day were in the 50s.

Sheriff’s deputies were investigating the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning, “which would indicate that there wasn’t proper ventilation for the equipment they were using,” said Bachman.

However, a fire district spokeswoman told reporters that fire crews had tested for CO levels at the scene and had not found them elevated.

The fire district did not respond Friday (March 23) to a request for clarification on that point or on other testing performed at the scene.

Authorities also did not say whether the home had a CO detector.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless asphyxiant that can be difficult for humans to detect. Federal health and safety guidelines limit employee exposures to CO.

Concern is also growing about the use of methylene chloride paint strippers, which recently caused the death of an employee of Vista Paints in California. Cal/OSHA recently issued an alert about the paint stripper products, but it is not known if they were being used in this case.

Victims Identified

The victims were identified as Francisco Corado, 27; Oscar Anibal Aguirre, 44; and Jahiron Aaron Mejia-Morales, 24, all of Cathedral City, CA. Officials did  not release the name of the painters’ employer.

“It was a very sad story for everyone involved,” said Bachman.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Confined space; Fatalities; Health and safety; Methylene chloride; OSHA; Ventilation

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (3/26/2012, 8:27 AM)

Very sad. On every project I visit, I ask the contractor about their CO monitor for supplied air.

Comment from Tom Reese, (3/26/2012, 11:09 AM)

Ok here it goes again....illegal workers who know crap about ventilation and whos gonna pay for it..The contractor who hired them...just don't use em boys...its not worth it.

Comment from Ron Cros, (3/26/2012, 2:01 PM)

Tom Reese, I can see that you assume these 3 painters are illegal because of their names. Aren't you jumping the gun here? I have an employee with the last name Nunez, he is just as American as any other American. Maybe they are illegal and maybe their not, let's wait and get the facts first. Shame on you! I feel for their families.

Comment from Gary Burke, (3/26/2012, 2:52 PM)

In any case, the point is that there should have been some training and common sense put in to play. If they were working for someone, shouldn't that person be trained / smart enough to use an ELECTRIC driven air compressor, in a sealed in house or located the Gas Driven device outside, where the air hose could have been brought in through a door or window? Don't know who is responsible, just too bad that 3 people lost their lives, trying to make a living!

Comment from Ronald Prows, (3/26/2012, 4:53 PM)

Maybe Tom Reese is an illegal, especially from a Native Americans Standpoint, most in this country are illegal from Columbus forward. Shame on your bigotry, Tom. Remember most of those people that come from across that the imaginary line at our southern border are more American than the immigrants and their postarity that followed, because their roots have been on this continent for centuries. May the creator be with their Families in their time of loss.

Comment from Jerry Trevino, (3/26/2012, 5:36 PM)

Its heartbreaking to hear about more deaths. Its just as sad regardless of their last names. They were fathers, brothers, sons of someones family. We hope to hear of the cause of deaths, and be aware of how to prevent them in the future. We can not bring them back, however, we hope to learn from it. I pray they are in the legal heaven regardless of their status here. I hope there isn't any territorial boundaries in the spiritual life.

Comment from Anna Jolly, (3/27/2012, 12:30 PM)

I really hate when people blame the illegals for their own deaths. If people would not hire them they they wouldn't die. Companies hire them because they are less expensive, do the work without asking questions, and are good workers. The employers that hire them and don't manage their safety issues are the problem, not the guys trying to make a living.

Comment from Billy Russell, (3/28/2012, 3:10 AM)

Agreeing with Anna, illegals have nothing to do with fly by night contractors setting up halfA@## jobsites. I RESPECT the men and woman who walk across a desert for three days to get here to find work to feed there families! I dont know many Americans with that kind of work ethic! I Know for a fact these contractors get these guys on union jobs alot so they dont have to pay the whole package up north,and the southern contractors do it to avoid workers compensation and taxes. I will take these spanish Blasters and Painters that wanna LEARN how to do it right over these white guys coming up that get 3 good pay checks then start calling in sick casuse there strung out on METH any day. see hablo espaniol Batos too buano!!!!!!! I will pray for the families of our fallen workers and yes the blame goes on the contractor if infact there was one !!!!!!

Comment from Mike McCloud, (3/28/2012, 10:53 AM)

These guys have families that now have their lives turned upside down, regardless of where thy are from. We all have to watch each other, whether or not we are a boss, neighbor, competitor, etc.....

Comment from david crouse, (3/29/2012, 12:58 PM)

Let's get one thing straight these 3 men are very good friends of mine an im going to miss them in everyway.They have worked with me on many painting jobs,an as for the comments made by some of you about the knowledge,an experience of these three men,well let me tell you,there is not a finer more qualified man for the job,a true painter with years of experience under his belt.So please think before you say anything derogatory or negitive about these men.Again i will greatly miss my friends,an my heart goes out to the families an friends,and all the painters that knew them.Dave C.

Comment from Anna Jolly, (3/30/2012, 10:59 AM)

Sorry for you loss David. I am sure these were good guys in every way. No one needs to die just to earn a living.

Comment from Josh Inklovich, (3/30/2012, 11:15 AM)

The assumption that the painters are illegal based on their last name is shameful. Even discussing illegal immigration when 3 men lost their lives is shameful. Tom Reese: YOU are shameful. Personally, I Google people before doing business with them. Hopefully, potential clients find this racist post and refuse to do business with you.

Comment from david crouse, (3/31/2012, 7:02 PM)

Thank you Anna Jolly.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

RPB Respiratory

With RPB Safety’s new Nova 3 Cassette Lens System which has been specifically designed to save you time and money! See the benefits for yourself now!

Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !

CS Unitec
Work Cleaner and Safer

CS Unitec’s Vibro-Lo low-vibration scalers offer high performance for greater productivity & improved operator comfort. Optional dust shroud.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste money on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint

US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.


The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

Modern Safety Techniques
Modern Safety Techniques

See our Low Temperature Catalyst for your CO removal needs. Help to provide your workers with safe, comfortable breathing air!

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail