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Cause of death revealed in deadly hazmat situation at truck wash in Avondale

The Arizona Department of Occupational Health and Safety is still investigating the incident.

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast. 

The cause of death has been revealed for two men who died in a deadly hazmat situation at a truck wash in Avondale last year.

According to Maricopa County Medical Examiner, both men died of hydrogen sulfide toxicity after being exposed to the chemical while cleaning the inside of a tanker truck.

Shortly before 1 p.m. on Aug. 29, Avondale police responded to a hazmat call at the Danny’s Truck Wash at 925 N. 101st Ave.

ORIGINAL STORY: Two men dead, four firefighters with heat-related injuries following Avondale HAZMAT situation

Initial reports indicated two employees, later identified as Jose Perez, 32, and Roberto Longoria, 42, were unconscious inside a trailer tank. As first responders tried to figure out how to get the men out of the tank, the trailer's driver told police Perez entered the tank first after a drainage issue.

That's when Longoria walked up next to him and saw that Perez was unconscious.

Longoria grabbed a respirator, called 911, and then handed the phone to the driver who didn't know if Longoria put on the mask.

The car wash's owner and operation manager told police it's company protocol to wear personal protective equipment when entering a tank. But during a walk-through of the facility, police were only able to find suits and boot slipcovers.

The driver told police the trailer was due for an annual inspection and that's why the inside had to be cleaned out.

The two men never made it to the hospital.

The medical examiner has ruled the cause of death as accidental so there is no longer a criminal investigation. However, the Arizona Department of Occupational Health and Safety is still investigating.

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