Two Firefighters Die in Manure Incident

Two off-duty volunteer firefighters tragically lost their lives after falling into a manure tanker at a cattle farm in upstate New York. The victims, identified as Nathan Doody, 33, from DeRuyter, and Tyler Memory, 29, of Tully, were performing their regular day jobs when they were overcome by toxic fumes and fell unconscious into the tanker.

The incident occurred at Champion Farms in Clinton, where one of the men was attempting to retrieve a piece of equipment that had accidentally fallen into the tanker. Upon losing consciousness due to the noxious fumes, he fell into the tanker. The second man, in an attempt to rescue his colleague, also succumbed to the fumes and fell into the tanker.

Farm staff discovered the unconscious men inside the tanker and immediately alerted emergency services. Paramedics rushed the victims to a local hospital, where they were both pronounced dead. The sequence of events leading to the tragedy, including who fell first, remains unclear.

Memory, a third-generation firefighter, had been serving the Tully Joint Fire Department for 15 years, having joined at the tender age of 14, according to Assistant Chief Joe Nemier. Doody was a volunteer at the Cuyler Fire Department in Cortland County, having joined the service a decade ago.

Both men were known to Nemier, who revealed that they worked as manure tanker drivers. Champion Farms, a 10th-generation beef and dairy farm, has been operational since the early 1800s. It spans 3,500 acres and is located approximately 250 miles northwest of Manhattan.

Manure fumes are known to produce toxic gases that can be lethal to both humans and livestock in high concentrations, as per the National Agricultural Safety Database. Hydrogen sulfide, the most dangerous among these gases, can cause symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and unconsciousness. In extreme cases, it can cause death in just one or two breaths.

This incident is reminiscent of a similar tragedy in 2021, where three brothers in Ohio died after inhaling fumes while working to repair a pump inside a manure storage pit on their family farm.