Tampa father, son die after being overcome by tanker's fumes

Published July 1, 2013

TAMPA — A father and son trying to clean out a tanker truck Saturday have died after being overcome by fumes, authorities said.

Luis E. Gonzalez, 29, and his father, 53-year-old Ernesto Gonzalez, went inside the tanker at Barnett Transportation, 4904 Towaway Ave. in East Tampa, about 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

The truck's driver, who is the Gonzalezes' friend, suspected that the tanker had an obstruction because it was draining slowly, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. The Gonzalezes entered to take a look.

But both men were felled by fumes while inside the tanker, deputies said. A third man called 911.

Luis Gonzalez, of 3002 W St. John's St., was pronounced dead Saturday at Tampa General Hospital.

Ernesto Gonzalez, who also shares that address, died Sunday morning at the hospital, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Family members gathered at the home Sunday afternoon to console each other, and declined to talk with news reporters.

The tanker was empty, but had at one point been used to transport hot asphalt and still contained fumes due to the lack of ventilation inside, said Nacole Revette, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman.