Good Samaritan dies after extinguishing fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Good Samaritan dies after extinguishing fire

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May 20, 2004

Albany- A businessman died Tuesday after putting out a small fire near a utility pole.  Did Toxic fumes from burning PVC pipe attached to a utility pole cause his death?

Most people knew Billy Baumgartel as "Pop." His daughter, Angie Conley, said "He loved to help people."

The healthy and active 68-year- old Baumgartel owned a local tire business with his son and grandson. Tuesday night, he saw a small fire at the corner of Doncaster and Acker Drives, behind Sherwood Baptist Church.

Pine straw was burning a utility pole and the PVC pipe attached. Baumgartel stopped to stomp out the blaze.

Then he drove to Ken Gardens ballpark, where his family saw him stumble out of his truck. Conley said, "He told my mom that he had helped put out a fire. He says 'I'm dying.' At that point he started spitting up stuff."

Burning PVC Pipe puts off deadly fumes. Lt. Ron Rowe of the Albany Fire Department said, "When it burns it gives off hydrogen choride gas. When exposed to your respiratory system, it can form hydrochloric acid,which can compromise your respiratory system."

Did those PVC fumes contribute to Baumgartel's death? Initial autopsy reports say he died of smoke inhalation, that brought on cardiac arrest.

Conley said, "He was doing for others as he always did." Billy Baumgartel will be remembered as a loving father, friend, and businessman, who died after doing a good deed.

Billy Baumgartel's funeral will be Friday morning at 11:00AM.


posted at 4:15PM by dave.miller@walb.com