New Jersey Roofers Pull Co-Worker From Vat Of Acid

It's hard to know how far any of us would go to save a colleague's life, but it appears that four New Jersey roofers were willing to risk theirs after a co-worker fell through a factory roof and plunged into a vat of acid 40 feet below.

The workers rescued Martin Davis (pictured at left), a 44-year-old iron worker who was working on the roof of Swepco Tube, a manufacturing plant in northern New Jersey, when he tumbled into the vat Monday morning, The Record of Bergen County reports.

There is some confusion as to whether one of the roofers, Rob Nuckols, 51, was the first to attempt to pull Davis from the vat of nitric acid or whether he "dived" in to save him. Nuckols' wife told The Associated Press that her husband was among the four or five workers who pulled Davis out of the solution.

A fire official initially said Monday that Nuckols suffered burns when he jumped into the container to help rescue Davis. But Nuckols' wife says he never jumped in.

At last report, Davis was in critical condition at a local hospital, with a broken rib, punctured lungs and burns on his legs and side, the newspaper quotes his brother, John Davis, as saying.

After being pulled from the vat at the metal-tube plant, rescue workers cut the clothes from the stricken worker and sprayed him with water to limit burns. He was then airlifted to a local hospital. Davis, a father of three, reportedly was fully submerged in the acid solution, used to clean metal tubing.

"They have him on a breathing apparatus and he's in critical condition," Davis told the Record. "His condition is not so good. But he's a young guy. He'll pull through."

Reportedly, the injured Davis hardly knew the men who saved his life. But his brother said that a code of ethics among construction workers can be credited for the men rushing into action.

"In our trade we stick together," John Davis told the Record. "You'll die out there. You've got your family to feed and you have to protect each other."

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