Chemical identified in Avondale hazmat situation that killed 2 men

The chemical that apparently led to the deaths of two employees of a commercial truck wash in Avondale has been identified, according to police.

On Aug. 29, several emergency response crews from around the Valley responded to a hazmat situation near  I-10 and 99th Avenue that sent two men to the hospital in extremely critical condition. Both of them died.

"This is a commercial truck wash and the two victims were located inside the container of a tractor trailer semi truck," said Avondale Fire & Medical Deputy Chief Ben Avitia.

They said the two men died after being exposed to a residual chemical substance known as sodium hydrosulfide, which can be deadly in high quantities.

The men were caught inside the tanker vault of a semi-truck while it was in the cleaning bay.

Police said the men were assigned to clean the inside of the tanker truck.

One man went inside the tank, then collapsed and became unconscious shortly afterward. The second man went inside the tank to assist and became unconscious as well.

Police said fire crews extricated the bodies of the two men out of the vault while wearing full protective gear. Four firefighters were being treated at the hospital for heat-related issues.

Avondale is about 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of Phoenix.

Family identifies one of the victims as Jose Ramirez, 32.

MORE: Valley family remembers life of victim in deadly Avondale hazmat situation

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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