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Worker’s death at well site ruled to be from natural causes

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

The January death of an Alvord man at a gas well site has been ruled as natural, likely due to a heart attack, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled.

Troy Taylor, Denton County’s chief death investigator, said the investigation into Jimmy Dale Deweber’s death was ongoing since he was found dead near a natural gas well northwest of Krum.

Deweber, 63, died from hypertensive cardiovascular disease, Taylor said.

Taylor said he doesn’t have Deweber’s medical history available but the autopsy indicated a prior heart condition.

Blood toxin reports came back negative, Taylor said.

Traces of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory medicine that he took the morning he died were found in his blood, officials said.

Deweber’s body was found Jan. 17 at a pad site in the 5900 block of Barnett Road.

He was found near a spillover of condensate — a gas-related liquid — and officials began investigating.

High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide can cause shock, convulsions, inability to breathe, rapid unconsciousness, coma and death, according to a fact sheet produced by the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration.

On his first run of the morning, Deweber began with an empty collection tank and filled it up before his death occurred, said Rick Rainey, spokesman for Enterprise Products Partners, the company for which Deweber worked.

During the investigation, Sgt. Larry Kish with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office said the death was being investigated as any death would be.

At the time of Deweber’s death, a spokesman for ConocoPhillips said the company didn’t believe it was an industrial accident. Enterprise Products Partners was contracted with Burlington Resources, a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips.

Elizabeth Routh, OSHA’s Region 6 assistant area director, said last month that the agency was conducting a fatality investigation into the work-related incident, and that it could take up to six months to complete.

Calls to OSHA were not returned Tuesday.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is mgray@dentonrc.com .