1907 - 1939 (32 years)
||William Peter "Pete" Britton |
||, Renfrew, Ontario
||life story, accident |
|Accident: killed in gas accident |
||Pete Britton |
|Eby ID Number
||11 Jul 1939
||Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
||20 Aug 2020 |
- 3 Galt Workmen Drowned in Tank; Overcome by Gas
Topple Into Two Feet of Water; Foreman Dies in Attempted Rescue
Galt - After consulting Crown Attorney Clement of Kitchener, Coroner James McQueen called an inquest for Monday night into the triple fatality at the septic tank of the city sewage disposal plant on Water Street South Tuesday morning in which three regular Board of Works employees lost their lives. The Coroner's belief the men were drowned when they were overcome by sewer gas, was confirmed by a postmortem performed. The victims were Harry E. Westwood, 58, widowers, father of five, City Sewer Inspector and city employee for 28 years; Albert Hatfield, 49, married, city employee for 11 years, and William E. (Pete) Britton, 31, father of two small daughters, employed by the city since the spring.
Victims of Methane Gas
A theory was advanced that the men were victims of methane gas, the presence of which cannot be detected, and that they toppled into the water which was only about a foot deep. The tragedy was not discovered until shortly before noon when Works Superintendent William McLellan motored to the plant to bring the men back to the city. He found the door open, but saw no trace of them. He went in to make inquiries at an adjoining garage, and with H. Kithen, a mechanic, went back to the building and made the discovery. Firemen were called, and one without a gas mask went down into the hole and attached ropes for lifting the bodies. Hatfield and Britton were wearing rubber boots, while Westwood, the foreman, had on leather shoes, which led to the belief that he probably gave his life in an attempted rescue, when the other two were overcome. Kitchen said he heard the men in the tank shouting about 45 minutes before the bodies were found. "We didn't think anything of it," he said. "They often called to each other for pieces of equipment or to have someone turn on a valve." The tank in which the men lost their lives is 12 feet long, 6 feet wide, with board covering and 16 feet deep.
The Waterloo Chronicle Jul 14 1939 pg 1