Authorities investigating death at Augusta chemical plant

Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 5:13 PM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 12:30 AM
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Federal officials are investigating the death of a man at an Augusta chemical plant, authorities said.

William Fulcher, Atlanta east area director of the federal Occupation, Safety and Health Administration, said his office is looking into the circumstances around the incident, which occurred Saturday at General Chemical, 1580 Columbia Nitrogen Drive.

Fulcher said OSHA was still gathering information about the incident and awaiting autopsy results and toxicology tests in the death of Isiah Scott, 62, of Hephzibah.

Scott was found unresponsive on top of a railroad tanker car loaded with molten sulfur, according to Richmond County Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald.

McDonald said the official time of death was 11 a.m., but ambulance crews who arrived almost an hour before did not attempt to resuscitate Scott because it was clear the man could not be revived.

McDonald said an autopsy on Scott was performed Monday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab. He said Scott had no injuries or burns and the cause of death has yet to be determined. McDonald said toxicology test results are not expected for several weeks or months.

Scott, a retired Army first sergeant, was a native of Lynn Haven, Fla. He is survived by his wife, Mary A. Scott, a son, Gregory Scott, and a daughter, Andreana Harris, all of Hephzibah.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 4399 Clements Road, Hephzibah, with Vladimir Korey officiating.

A call to General Chemical plant manager Alan Hampton was not returned Wednesday.

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soapy_725 12/26/12 - 07:19 pm
Burning sulfur plus mositure = sulfuric acid fumes

The question is what will be the "spin to control financial liability". Financial Liability will play the major part in the final assessment of cause. Human error or equipment failure. Been there, seen that at another CSRA chemical plant.

Contain the issue on plant property until a scenario can be developed.

But we are always told the public is in no danger. If the fumes are carried to Belvedere, no danger.

rmwhitley 12/26/12 - 08:19 pm
God bless

Mr. Scott's soul and his family.

itsanotherday1 12/26/12 - 08:22 pm
Condolences to his family.

Condolences to his family. Let's just hope it was natural causes and not some kind of negligence on behalf of someone else. Sad, particularly this time of year.

AutumnLeaves 12/26/12 - 10:20 pm

Could he have been allergic to sulfur? Some people have serious reactions to sulfur fumes.

OpenCurtain 12/27/12 - 09:29 am
Molten Sulphur (sulfur) transportation

1st of all my condolences to the Scott Family, especially with it happening at this time of year.

Regarding a viable chemical related cause.

"An insulated sulphur railcar loaded with 40 to 70 tonnes of sulphur at 135C (275F) will stay molten for 10 to 14 days even in cold climatic conditions. This is possible because of the solidification of a small amount of sulphur on the inner wall of the tank that effectively insulates the remainder of the tank contents. When the tank car arrives at the customer, the car is heated using steam to melt the small amount of solid sulphur on the inner walls before the tank car is unloaded."

Molten Sulphur (sulfur) as it cools starts to produce Hydrogen Sulphide, which is deadly in very low ppm doses.

Think of the weather changes over the last week and wonder if a insulated rail Tank car, without a heater, would have maintained the temperature requirement. Then add to it we are in the typical Holiday delivery loaded delay cycle, plus the main sources of supply for Molten Sulphur (sulfur) are over 1,000+ miles away.

Riverman1 12/27/12 - 12:50 pm
OC, thanks for the

OC, thanks for the explanation. That sounds very possible. It's a shame in any case.

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