Teen Killed In Industrial Accident Had Fake ID

16-Year-Old's ID Said He Was 30

We are learning more about the death of a worker at a composting plant near Arvin on Wednesday. Investigators say the victim was a 16-year-old boy working with a fake ID.

It came as a shock to many officials that the victim was just 16. The coroner says his name was Armando Ramirez. Now multiple state and federal agencies are investigating to try to figure out how a 16-year-old boy could have been doing a job dangerous enough to kill him.

It started when the teen worker from Community Recycling near Arvin went down into a hole to clean it. A second man noticed the first worker had been overcome by noxious fumes and went to help.

"One of the workers went into the manhole that’s part of the drainage system and didn't come out. A second worker went in to assist the first worker, and a third worker saw there was a problem and called for help," said Brain Pitts of Kern County Environmental Health.

Cal OSHA says the third worker tried to stop the second worker from going into the hole, but couldn't. Both had to be pulled out by firefighters.

The first worker, Ramirez, died at Kern Medical Center. The second worker, a 22 year old man, is still at KMC in critical condition. The third worker never went into the hole, but was still overcome by fumes. He was treated and released.

“Preliminary indications were hydrogen sulfide gas at relatively high concentrations," Pitts said.

Environmental Health says there have been prior violations at Community Recycling. They say all were unrelated to this incident and have been corrected.

“In a very serious accident like this OSHA would take over and we will turn over what ever materials we have," Pitts said.

Now Cal OSHA is looking into the business and will be asking how a 16-year-old could pass for a 30-year-old even if he had a fake ID.

The U.S. Department of Labor is also investigating as is the California Labor Commissioner. Cal OSHA says they will be investigating Community Recycling, who employed the boy that died and the third victim, as well as A and B Harvesting, who employed the second victim.

"Any incident like this depending on what the investigation reveals could result in penalties," Pitts said.

23ABC found that Ramirez was not enrolled at Arvin High School.

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