County officials are investigating the death last Friday of a Mobil employee who may have been exposed to toxic hydrogen sulfide gas at the oil company’s Torrance refinery.
The dead man is William G. Hedrick, 57, of Westminster, who was hospitalized Sept. 13 after complaining of shortness of breath and weakness while at work. He told the Torrance paramedics who took him to the hospital that he first experienced shortness of breath two days earlier after inhaling hydrogen sulfide gas.
Barbara Burr, acting OSHA area director, said, however, that Hedrick, a 14-year Mobil employee who was taking medication for high blood pressure, was diagnosed at the hospital as a stroke victim and put on a life support system. Hedrick died Friday after his wife, at his request, had him taken off life supports, Burr said.
Mobil plant Manager Wyman Robb said that refinery officials knew of no incident in which Hedrick, who worked inside a welding shop, was exposed to hydrogen sulfide.
Hedrick’s widow said she had requested an autopsy. The county coroner’s office and the district attorney’s office are conducting the investigation.