Md. farmer finds man trapped in manure pit
SMITHSBURG, Md. — Washington County authorities rescued a man trapped in a dairy manure pit on April 13, police said.
After a farmer reported the incident just before 10 a.m., local fire and medical personnel rescued the man from the farm in the 12000 block of Rowe Road and took him to a hospital. He had likely been in the pit since early in the morning but did not appear to have serious injuries, Washington County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Carly Hose told the Herald-Mail newspaper in Hagerstown.
The man is not expected to face any charges.
Washington County MD Fire Calls, a popular Facebook page that reports regional emergency calls, said the man was stuck up to his armpits, raising the risk of hypothermia as temperatures overnight had dipped to the 50s.
First responders arrived at about 9:45 a.m. and said they intended to cut a chain-link fence surrounding the pit, deploy a ladder, retrieve the man and hose him off. The man was removed from the pit by 9:57 and taken to Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown. The farmer did not know him.
University of Maryland Extension agent Jeff Semler told the Herald-Mail the man was lucky to be alive. A wet body can develop hypothermia in a 55-degree environment, and the man could have drowned or suffocated due to toxic gas produced by the manure.
Manure pit deaths are not rare. Three brothers in their 30s lost consciousness while working in a pit in western Ohio and died last August. The incident made national news and served as a reminder of the hazards of manure pits.
Manure-generated gas killed 91 people nationwide and severely injured 21 others from 1974-2004, according to a recent Perdue University study. More than a third of those deaths occurred during pit repairs or maintenance. Nearly a quarter occurred during rescues.