Man's nitric acid vat rescue was team effort

Last updated 08:55 09/05/2012

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The wife of a New Jersey roofer who helped save a co-worker who had fallen into a vat of acid says her husband is doing fine and is downplaying his role in the rescue.

Rob Nuckols' wife, Karen, says he was one of four or five workers who pulled colleague Martin Davis out of the nitric acid solution at Swepco Tube LLC in Clifton.

A fire official has said that Nuckols suffered burns when he jumped into the acid vat to help rescue Davis. But Nuckols' wife says he never jumped in.

The vat contained a 40-70 per cent nitric acid solution used for cleaning metal tubing.

Rescue workers arrived after five minutes, cut Davis out of his clothes and sprayed him with water to limit burns

Davis had fallen through a roof and into the vat and is in critical condition with a broken rib, punctured lung, and burns on his legs and side, a relative said.

Karen Nuckols' says her husband is doing well and doesn't want to be interviewed.

Nuckols was treated for burns on his legs and abdomen. The three other roofers were taken to hospitals but there was no sign that they were seriously injured.

The men were working for Gar Con Enterprises of Flemington. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it was investigating and looking into both companies.

An employee at Swepco said the company had no comment, and Gar Con did not return calls.

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- AP

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