Earl I. Roberts died after attempting to save Ernest Aronholt from suffocation, Lima, Ohio, May 4, 1932. As Aronholt, 45, disposal plant operator, was ascending a ladder in a sampling pit of a digester tank of a sewage treatment plant, he was overcome by gas and fell to the floor of the pit, which was 9.5 feet deep. Roberts, 42, designing engineer, ran 700 feet to the pit. Meanwhile another man descended the ladder a few feet, was affected by the gas, and started to climb out. When his head and shoulders were above the surface, he became unconscious, and Roberts helped others to pull the man out of the pit. With the aid of another man Roberts then dragged a hose 50 feet long up a steep slope to the pit. No ropes were available. While two men held the ends of the hose, Roberts, who had been warned of gas in the pit, held the hose midway its length and descended the ladder to Aronholt. He placed the hose over Aronholt’s head and shoulders and under his arms and held it close around him. As he aided the men to raise Aronholt, he was overcome and fell to the floor, and Aronholt slipped from the hose and fell on him. Later two firemen, wearing gas masks, entered and removed both men from the pit. Aronholt was revived. but he died an hour later from a fracture of the skull, sustained in his fall from the ladder. Roberts could not be revived.
32118 – 269132118-2691