An unusual act of nature has wrecked havoc on a family and their farm. When a storm fell upon a farm in Amherst, Wisconsin, gasses were trapped in a deadly dome of air which poisoned and killed a farmer, 29-year-old Michael Biadasz, along with 16 cattle.
Sounds like a random chain of events that rippled from one problem to the next right?
Evidently, right before the storm hit, the tank had been prepped to be pumped, which is how the warm upper air trapped the gasses, thus poisoning Michael and the cattle, from fumes of either methane or sulfur dioxide. It was said that Michael, along with 13 of the cattle died immediately and the other three cattle struggled for awhile before they died.
When other workers arrived to begin hauling manure away from the tank, Michael was found dead.
Prior to the incident, Michael had performed the task of emptying the tank. A coroner’s investigation is currently underway to determine the actual cause of death.
“The family is devastated, absolutely devastated,” said Portage County Coroner, Scott Rifleman, who also shared that gas causing deaths are usually caused in closed areas which make this particular incident even more surprising. Rifleman has suggested that the atmospheric pressure has prevented the gasses from dissipating.
Though the family is severely grieving, they managed to honor Michael in a recent display of respect. A line of tractors and machinery was parked along the road that passes the farm. Included in those vehicles were a blue tractor, several red trucks, and Michael’s black pickup truck. The gathering of vehicles symbolized Michael’s dedication to farm life and his family.
As with most tragedies, something is learned, and people are demanding that there be more strict regulations placed on manure holding tanks. Tougher regulations would prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. According to the National Agriculture Safety Database (NASD), proper ventilation is required in areas where animals are stored and there should be warning signs posted within close proximity.
The NASD went on to say the following…
“In addition to adhering to proper construction and maintenance procedures for liquid manure storage facilities, owners should be encouraged to follow a few precautionary measures to protect both workers and livestock from harmful manure gasses.”
It will be interesting to see how this impacts the future of farming and regulations. One thing that can be learned is that you never know how nature will change your life in an instant. Victims have lost their houses and lives to tornados, earthquakes, and hurricanes, but something like this deadly dome of air is surely something that wasn’t planned as a possibility of ever happening on this family farm.
While forces of natures such as this one are fascinating, they can be devastating and tragic for the human race and animals of all kinds. Hopefully, word will get out about this particular incident and prevent other farmers and animals from becoming victims of such an unexpected tragedy. Michael was far too young to lose his life to an accident that could’ve been prevented.