2 Workers die inside shopping center sewer in Scottsdale

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Two men died after getting trapped inside a sewer at a shopping center on Monday afternoon, according to Jay Ducote, division chief with the Scottsdale Fire Department. Their bodies have since been pulled from the sewer.

It happened at The Promenade on the corner of Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.

Three employees with Camp Industries were doing some maintenance or repair work on the sewage pumps, which were approximately 15 feet below the surface.

Firefighters from Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe responded to the scene after getting a call at about 4 p.m.

"The initial call came from somebody that heard them [the victims] screaming," Ducote said.

When rescuers arrived, one of the three workers was climbing out of the sewer. He was described as being very lethargic.

"It's sewer gas that was the problem," Ducote said. "We're not sending our workers down there until we ventilate it. Even with our breathing apparatus that we have it's still hazardous for our crews."

Inside the hole, the hydrogen sulfide, or sewer gas, measured at lethal levels.

Firefighters had to set up a decontamination tent and the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant had to be evacuated.

"It was pretty scary because the firefighter just went in there and he was like, 'I need the building evacuated, everybody get out,' so we just got up and ran out," Jessica Correa said.

The two workers who died in the sewer have been identified as Jarrod Camp, 41, and Jeremy Johnson, 36, both of Phoenix. The third worker who managed to climb out of the sewer is an 18-year-old Phoenix man. He remains in the hospital and is expected to recover.

"They basically sprayed him with water, washed him off, then put him in the ambulance and drove off," witness Sierra Langbehn said.

Scottsdale firefighters say sewer gas is extremely common. Part of the investigation will look into why the workers reportedly did not have any safety gear with them.

The Medical Examiner's Office will determine official cause of death.