Farmer And 16 Cows Found Dead, Cause Of Death Finally Discovered

Note: We are republishing this story to raise awareness for the Mike Biadasz farm safety and education memorial fund. To find out more, go to their Facebook page here and website here.

In the manure storage tank of a Wisconsin farm, a “deadly dome of air” exploded, killing sixteen of the farmer’s cattle in an odd accident.

According to WAOW, 29-year-old farmer Michael Biadasz of Amherst, Wisconsin, died from gas poisoning on his family’s farm after being overcome by methane or sulfur oxide fumes. There were sixteen cow deaths in all—13 of the farm’s animals died initially, and three more died later.

The 29-year-old’s father, Bob Biadasz, co-owner of Biadasz Farms, claims that an unusual and unanticipated weather event known as a “perfect storm” was to blame for the disaster. When the tank was ready to be pumped, warm upper air temperatures trapped the gases in a dome of air, killing Michael and the animals in the process.

Biadasz was allegedly already dead when other workers arrived to begin clearing manure from the tank.

Scott Rifleman, the Coroner for Portage County, commented to WAOW, “The family is devastated, absolutely devastated.”

According to Rifleman, WSAW, the occurrence is even more surprising considering deaths from gas poisoning typically occur in enclosed areas. The coroner said that the air pressure prevented the gases from escaping.

The coroner went on to explain that an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of Biadasz’s death. Rifleman testified that Biadasz had safely emptied the same tank hundreds of times before to the terrible event.

The Biadasz family set up a row of tractors and other equipment along the road that passes by the property as a memorial to Michael. Among the parked vehicles are Michael’s black pickup truck, a blue tractor, and several red trucks.

“As if there isn’t already enough danger in the lives of farmers, this family had to suffer this freak accident,” wrote one Facebook commenter in response to the post. “Very depressing.”

In the wake of the regrettable accident, many are calling for more regulations to be placed on manure storage tanks in order to prevent another one of this kind from occurring in the future. All That’s News reports that the National Agriculture Safety Database specifies that spaces used for livestock storage must have sufficient ventilation and that warning signs must be placed nearby.

The NASD states that owners “should be encouraged to follow a few precautionary measures to protect both workers and livestock from harmful manure gases, in addition to adhering to proper construction and maintenance procedures for liquid manure storage facilities.”

A Virginia family met a similar terrible end in 2007, according to WASW, when a pipe obstruction caused a fatal buildup of methane gas, killing five members of the family.

References: WAOW and WSAW

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