FORT MORGAN -- At about 3:32 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, Morgan County Ambulance Service and Fort Morgan Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to Western Sugar, 18317 Highway 144, Fort Morgan, for a man who was down and unconscious. 

As units were responding, they were updated that there was a second person who was also down and that the cause was a possible hazardous material/chemical leak. Two male employees of Western Sugar were ultimately rescued from a confined space about 10 feet below ground surface. Two Fort Morgan firemen also sustained exposure. The two employees and the two firemen were all transported and treated at Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Fort Morgan.

Agencies that assisted with the incident include: Morgan County 911, Morgan County Ambulance Service, Fort Morgan Volunteer  Fire Department, Brush Volunteer Fire Department, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, Morgan County Office of Emergency Management, Fort Morgan Police Department and Colorado State Patrol Haz-Mat unit.

On May 30, Morgan County Sheriff Dave Martin reported the incident at Western Sugar Factory resulted in the death of one of the Western Sugar employees.

Cause of the death is still under investigation by the Morgan County Sheriff's Office and the Morgan County Coroner's Office. The investigation will include lab work and will likely take weeks for the results to return, according to MCSO Sheriff Martin.

There were four other people who were treated at Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Fort Morgan. 

In his May 30 press release, Sheriff Martin said it is the department's belief through onsite discussion with plant officials, and air monitoring by first responders, that the exposure sustained was Hydrogen Sulfide gas. Hydrogen Sulfide is a gas commonly found during the drilling and production of crude oil and natural gas, and in wastewater treatment and utility facilities and sewers. The gas is produced as a result of the microbial breakdown of organic materials in the absence of oxygen. Hydrogen Sulfide gas is noticeable by its rotten egg smell. 

There is no chemical release at Western Sugar. The production of Hydrogen Sulfide is a naturally, biologically occurring instance, according to Sheriff Martin.