Brothers Gary, Todd, and Brad Wuebker died after being overcome by fumes from a manure pit on a family farm, authorities tell ABC News.
Rescue crews in St. Henry, Ohio found the three men unconscious and unable to move in the pit on Thursday. It reportedly took emergency responders close to 20 minutes to remove them from the pit. St. Henry Fire Chief Matt Lefeld claims the Wuebker brothers were trying to fix a manure pump when the fumes made them lose consciousness. They were all taken to a nearby hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Two of the three brothers worked for Mercer Landmark, Inc. The company released a statement following their deaths on Facebook expressing condolences for the Wuebker family.
“Our hearts are with the Wuebker Family. Brad, Gary and Todd Wuebker lost their lives doing what they loved—working on the family farm,” the statement reads. “Brad and Gary were members of our team and had a work ethic like no other. Brad and Gary will forever be missed as members of our team and will create a void that will be impossible to fill. We ask that you keep the Wuebker Family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Manure pits are common on large livestock farms. They are used to collect and store waste which will eventually become commercial fertilizer. But large amounts of manure produce toxic gas like hydrogen sulfide, methane, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Per the Ohio State University Extension, the combination of these gases in high doses can be deadly.