Boilermakers employed by Nooter at Chevron’s El Segundo, Calif., refinery saved the life of a heart attack victim July 1. Administering CPR were, front row, second and third from left, Richard Six, Local 92 (Los Angeles) and Ed Sullivan, Local 237 (Hartford, Conn.). Bill Schmidt, front row, far left, a Chevron operations supervisor and member of the Steelworkers, also assisted in the life-saving effort.
Crew springs into action at Chevron refinery
RICHARD SIX KNEW something was wrong as soon as the door to the break trailer at Chevron’s El Segundo, Calif., refinery flew open. Local 92 (Los Angeles) Boilermakers on the Nooter outage crew spilled out of the trailer in a mad rush.
“There’s a man down!” someone from the crew yelled in Six’s direction. Six, who had been relaxing outside with another member, sprinted to catch up with the group. As he and Ed Sullivan (Local 237, Hartford, Conn.) rounded the corner of a refinery roadway, they saw a man lying on his back near the plant’s coker unit.
“He was flat out,” Six recalled.”
“As we walked up on Dan [Dan Sewell, an employee of Team Industrial Services], we saw that he was unconscious and turning blue,” said Sullivan. “Richard knelt down beside him, cleared Dan’s mouth, and put his ear down to listen for breathing. I knelt down beside Richard and checked for a pulse at the same time. We realized he did not have a pulse and was not breathing.
“Richard started mouth to mouth. He gave Dan a couple breaths of air, and I started chest compressions. In the meantime, Bill Schmidt [a Chevron operations manager and member of the Steelworkers] was checking for electrical danger, because Dan was lying alongside an electric generator. After Bill cleared that Dan had not been electrocuted, he took over chest compressions, and I relieved Richard. I continued to give Dan mouth to mouth resuscitations, in between chest compressions, until the emergency people took over.”
As Six, Sullivan, and Schmidt performed CPR, other Boilermakers joined Nooter safety representative Joe McElhaugh in holding back spectators and clearing the roadway for the refinery’s emergency personnel, who arrived within minutes.
Medical staff at a nearby hospital later determined that Sewell had suffered a heart attack.
“The heroic efforts of Six and Sullivan very simply saved Dan’s life,” McElhaugh wrote in a follow-up report. “The quick response, proper training, and teamwork that were set into motion as the events unfolded…were unprecedented.”
“Local 92 members take safety seriously,” said BM-ST Ed Marquez. “We drill it into them. When this emergency unfolded, the Boilermakers came right to the task and did what they were trained to do. I’m pretty proud of them.”
But the Local 92 members were not through with their effort to help Dan Sewell. During a barbecue several days later, someone put out a container to collect money. The Boilermakers day shift anted up $1,600. The night crew added to the collections.