1 Killed, 2 Hurt in Tanker Cleaning


One worker perished and two were injured over the weekend when they were apparently overcome by vapors while cleaning the inside of a tanker.

The accident occurred Saturday (June 14) at a quarry owned by concrete and asphalt manufacturer Jobe Materials L.P. of El Paso, TX.

Jobe Materials did not respond Tuesday to a request for more information.

Workers Trapped

The incident occurred about 7:30 a.m. Saturday (June 14), when emergency responders were notified that three workers at the quarry were trapped inside a confined space. About 13 fire units and 34 firefighters responded.

Upon arrival, firefighters saw workers on top of a tanker trying to rescue two victims inside, the El Paso Fire Department reported later that day. The victims had been cleaning the inside of the tanker when they fell ill, officials said.

A third worker had been able to pull himself out of the tanker before firefighters arrived. He was taken to an area hospital.

Firefighters then rescued the two victims trapped inside. Both were taken to area hospitals, where one died later that day.

The deceased victim was 58. None of the identities was released. It could not be immediately confimed whether the workers were employees of Jobe Materials.

El Paso FD had promised media outlets an update but said Tuesday (June 17) that it could release no additional details about the incident.

'Hovering Over These Communities'

One area resident said he was not surprised by the accident, because the air often appeared contaminated.

Jobe quarry
KTSM-TV screen grab

Three men were initially trapped in a tanker at the quarry. One managed to free himself.

"As I'm coming back from the freeway, you can see it from miles away," said Brendan Ontiveros of Canutillo, where the quarry is located, told KFOX-TV. "It's hovering over these communities right here."

The quarry opened last year after the El Paso City Council went against a staff recommendation and rezoned 115 acres owned by Stanley Jobe, a bilionaire once called "the most powerful person in town."

The tract adjoins Franklin Mountains State Park. The Franklins are the largest sustained mountain range in Texas, and the state maintains strict rules about park usage.

The city planning department recommended denying the request due to environmental concerns, according to the El Paso Times. In granting the rezoning to Jobe, the city "scrapped some of its most stringent, environmentally friendly and award-winning land development policies," the news outlet said.

Texas Parks & Wildlife

The quarry opened last year adjacent to Franklin Mountains State Park.

Jobe donated a 45-acre arroyo to the city in exchange for the rezoning.

The newspaper also noted that the state General Land Office had recently granted Jobe another quarry in Northeast El Paso, overruling the city's zoning policies. Jobe was a top campaign contributor to the state official who gave the order, the El Paso Times reported last year.

Stanley Jobe

El Paso scrapped strict land development policies to rezone a 115-acre tract so that Stanley Jobe could open his quarry.

Jobe employee Carlos Chacon wrote on KFOX's Facebook page that Jobe Materials "has a great safety department." He and other commenters said the deceased had been trying to rescue the other employees.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating Saturday's accident. A check of OSHA records Tuesday showed no record of inspection or violation for Jobe Materials.

Confined Space Safety

Confined-space safety is regulated by OSHA. OSHA's Confined Spaces Advisor offers an online "advisor" tool that details terms, answers common questions, and reviews regulatory text. The agency offers full resources on confined-space safety in its Safety and Health Topics section.








Tagged categories: Asphalt; Cement; Confined space; Fatalities; Health & Safety

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.