Robert W. Lucio, 24, operator of a cesspool cleaning business, died attempting to save Frederick R. Ehrlein, 20, cesspool cleaner’s helper, from suffocation, Hicksville, New York, February 11, 1965. Fifteen feet below ground level Ehrlein stood in water seven inches deep on the bottom of a storm sewer catch basin three to five feet in diameter and began to fill a bucket with decomposed organic debris. He had been in the catch basin about a minute when he called out to Lucio at the surface, saying he felt dizzy. Ehrlein lost consciousness due to a deficiency of oxygen in the catch basin and fell prone on the bottom, suffering a concussion when his head struck the brick wall. His face was not in the water. Lucio ran 80 feet to a nearby plant and asked a receptionist there to summon firemen. He then ran back to the catch basin and entered it. Less than a minute later two men arrived. They saw Lucio lying on the bottom with his face out of the water. Firemen arrived, and one of them by means of a ladder entered the catch basin wearing an oxygen mask. He tied a rope around Ehrlein, who was removed with some difficulty because the opening was only two feet in diameter. Lucio then was removed in the same manner. Both men were given oxygen. Ehrlein responded and recovered. Lucio could not be revived.
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