SOUTH MIDDLETON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — A Cumberland County farmer has died after entering his silo to do maintenance, Cumberland County Spokesperson John Bruetsch said.
Daniel L. Burkholder, 68, entered the silo just after 6:30 on Monday evening, according to his son.
Firefighters from Citizen’s Fire Co. No.1 were first on scene from Mount Holly Springs.
“When they were up there they monitored the oxygen level and it was down under 17%, and 17% will not sustain life,” Bruetsch said.
The Cumberland County Coroner’s Office says Burkholder was “overcome by gases inside the silo caused by the fermentation of the contents of the Silo.” His cause of death was ruled as Asphyxiation Complicated by a Myocardial Infarction and was also ruled an accident.
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His body was found on the silo’s unloader. The silo where he died is located on a large farm along Rockledge Drive owned by a Mennonite family, Bruetsch said.
Bruetsch said it was a complicated rescue, so firefighters called Carlisle Fire and Rescue, then Team 500, a Cumberland County technical rescue team. They still needed more help, so technical rescue teams from the City of Harrisburg and Defense Logistics Agency New Cumberland also assisted.
“They’re working inside of a hatch so you have to rig your personnel that are going down to them. You have to take harnesses to put that individual in,” Bruetsch said. “You’ve got to get the ropes all ready. They have two aerials up there. It’s a slow go. It’s not fast. And the reason is they feel it’s a recovery. It’s best to go slow, don’t get anyone else hurt.”
The man’s body was recovered around 9:50 p.m. on Monday night.