Jul 09, 2020
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The water tower the workers were inspecting from sits 120 feet high. (Larry Valenzuela/The Collegian)

Fresno State water tower maintenance worker dies a day after rescue

On Wednesday morning, three divers were rescued from the Fresno State water tower while taking part in a routine inspection. One day later, one of the divers who was unresponsive due to heat exhaustion had died.

The diver has been identified as 27-year-old Jason Peters of Palm Coast, Florida.

Peters was an employee with LiquiVision Technology Diving Services, and he and the other two divers were inspecting the tank of the water tower. The inspection was a requirement by the Environmental Protection Agency and Water Resources Control Board that has to take place every three years.

The water tower holds 150,000-gallons reserved for the the University’s drinking water system on campus and the tank that the workers were inspecting sits at nearly 120 feet from the ground.

Reports say that the man experienced intense heat exhaustion due to the temperature and high humidity, which was in the mid-80s at the time but eventually reached 103 degrees.

Both the effects from the temperature and humidity led to the worker going into cardiac arrest. He was then taken to the hospital, according to Battalion Chief Mike Gibson of the Fresno Fire Department.

“The extended work period up on top there, the strenuous work that they were doing with the heat and the high humidity today, it just overcame him,” Gibson said.

A Fresno State spokesperson expressed the condolences of the university towards the family and colleagues of the diver.

“We are extremely sad to learn that the diver passed away overnight, and we send our condolences to his family and colleagues,” the spokesperson said.

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