The Barton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an oilfield-related death in the county, Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
At about 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 911 dispatchers received a call about a missing Great Bend man who had not returned from work. At about 7:30 p.m., sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 500 block of SE. 70th Road, on the Dartmouth blacktop at the Barton Stafford/County line.
They located the missing man, Lavern Brown, age 88 of Great Bend, who was working on an oil lease at that location, Bellendir stated in a news release.
“It appears Mr. Brown was attempting to repair a leak. Brown was pronounced deceased at the scene by Barton County Corner Dr. Stan Hateshol. The Sheriff’s Office suspects Brown may have been overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas,” Bellendir said. “Hydrogen sulfide, commonly known as H2S is a toxic substance that is a by-product of oil and natural gas production. Hydrogen sulfide is common in the oilfields of central Kansas. The location tested positive for H2S.”
The Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation and on Thursday was awaiting results from an autopsy that was scheduled for later in the day.