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Sheriff Pickell Talks Fenton Construction Tragedy

Office of Genesee County Sheriff

There was a tragedy that took place yesterday at Price’s Airport in Fenton Township. Nix Construction was on site looking to extend sewer lines and Joseph Filpansick opened the manhole cover to look for the lines. Sheriff Pickell explains what happened as he opened the cover:

“Once he opened the manhole cover he was over come by methane gas and fell right into the manhole. It’s a 20 foot drop and then there’s about two feet of water and he landed face first in the water.”

Pickell says once people saw what happened, Ron Utica then attempted to get into the manhole to extricate Filpansick but was overcome with methane gas and fell head first. Sheriff Pickell says Linden Township Police Officer Gary Coughlan climbed in the sewer access to turn both faces so they weren’t face down.

Filpansick is in stable condition and Utica passed away on the way to the hospital. An autopsy is supposed to be done today.

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