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Beatrice man who died after chemical odor at plant identified

Beatrice man who died after chemical odor at plant identified

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One person died after hazmat crews were called to Neapco, a manufacturing company in Beatrice shown here, Monday to identify the source of a suspicious smell.

A man who lived at a home for people with intellectual disabilities and was part of a cleaning crew has been identified as the man who died after a possible chemical incident at Neapco Monday morning.

Michael Robertson, 67, was cleaning at the factory under the supervision of Mosaic staff when he and another worker became ill.

Mosaic is a faith-based organization that places intellectually disabled people in jobs such as cleaning and unskilled labor.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a release Tuesday afternoon it has opened an investigation into the death.

Police said the incident began as a medical call from the driveline component manufacturing company in the north Beatrice industrial park.

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One of the patients required CPR, which was administered before firefighters arrived.

They took Robertson to Nebraska Heart Institute in Lincoln, but he did not survive. An autopsy will be done.

The other man, whom police haven’t identified, was released after treatment at Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center.

Hazmat crews and members of the Nebraska National Guard's Civil Support Team in Lincoln investigated, but the cause of the smell hasn't been disclosed.

The OSHA release said preliminary information indicates the incident happened while workers were mixing cleaning chemicals.

The area where the smell was reported was evacuated while crews searched for the cause of the odor. They said there was no danger to the rest of the facility.

Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang said Robertson was a well-known figure in the community and will be missed by members of the police department and everyone who knew him.


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