Anderson, Indiana, city worker found dead next to pool
A policeman found Anderson, Indiana, city worker Stephen Cunningham, 64, dead on the sidewalk next to a public swimming pool.
Cunningham, had apparently been mixing pool chemicals and was overcome by fumes, according to Madison County Coroner Dr. Troy Abbott.
“He came outside, where he collapsed,” Abbott said. “He will undergo an autopsy at St. Vincent Anderson for a definitive cause of death.”
The incident occurred on July 7, 2021, at the Southside Indiana Pool, where Cunningham worked.
Cunningham’s friend, Nick Baldwin, who worked with him for 22 years, said that Cunningham didn’t always wear a mask when handling chemicals.
“There’s some really deadly chemicals that you have to work with,” said Baldwin. “You can easily inhale that stuff, and it can cause you to lose your breath and everything. It’s very dangerous stuff.”
Terri Austin, Anderson’s public information officer and media affairs director, declined to comment about whether Cunningham was wearing any protective equipment while working at the pool on the morning of his death. She also did not say anything about any city requirements to use safety equipment when working with pool chemicals.
“The city is still investigating the circumstances surrounding his death and will not be making any public statements until the appropriate departments and staff have had a chance to review the coroner’s report and any additional documentation,” she said.
According to Carl Malone, superintendent for Muncie Parks Department, the state does not require wearing a respirator for anyone handling chemicals for a public pool, although such handlers must be certified.
Cunningham’s death was reported to the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration the day he died.