CANTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — A 27-year-old man critically injured in a chemical release earlier this month at a Stark County facility has died, federal safety officials confirmed to FOX 8.
Ray Sullivan, 27, of Waynesburg, was one of five people affected by a release of hydrogen sulfide on Aug. 22 at the US Ecology facility along Central Avenue Southeast in the township.
Sullivan, a West Virginia native, died Friday, Aug. 26, according to his obituary.
“Ray was a devoted father, an amazing partner, and the most loving son who will be missed by so many. He was a hard worker, an avid gamer, and a Bengals fan for life,” it reads. “Though Ray has left us with many wonderful memories he also leaves behind a hole in the lives of family and friends that can never be filled.”
Canton Township fire officials earlier this month told FOX 8 that five people were taken to the hospital after being exposed to hydrogen sulfide the morning of Aug. 22 — four of whom were expected to be treated and released.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hydrogen sulfide can irritate the respiratory system and cause apnea, coma and convulsions, among other symptoms.
The US Ecology Canton facility converts hazardous inorganic waste into non-hazardous material, according to its website. The company uses equipment and fleet vehicles to transport, treat and dispose of hazardous and non-hazardous material.
“We are saddened by the passing of one of our team members last week at our Canton, Ohio, facility,” reads a Tuesday statement from Republic Services, which owns US Ecology. “Out of respect for the employee’s family we are unable to share additional details at this time, and we extend sincere condolences to all of his loved ones and colleagues. We continue to cooperate with authorities as they investigate the situation. There is no threat to the health or safety of the public.”
Stark County’s hazardous materials team also responded to the chemical release. No other businesses or areas were evacuated.
OSHA has opened an investigation into the fatality. A spokesperson declined to release any more details on the incident until that investigation concludes, which can take up to six months.
The Central Avenue Southeast facility is fully open, Republic Services said.