A Georgia sheriff's deputy died over the weekend after inhaling liquid nitrogen while saving a worker at a sperm bank.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office said Sgt. Greg Meagher responded to a call at Xytex in Augusta on Sunday afternoon.
"Upon arrival, Sgt. Meagher succumbed to injuries sustained after inhaling an unknown chemical substance," according to a sheriff's office press release.
That substance was later determined to be liquid nitrogen. The chemical, which is used to freeze sperm donations, was released during a "pressure surge just after 3:00 p.m.," according to a release from Xytex.
A burglar alarm was somehow set off following the surge, which is the call to which 57-year-old Meagher was responding.
When firefighters subsequently arrived, they found the unconscious Meagher and a female Xytex employee inside the building.
Meagher had gone inside to rescue the woman, according to Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen. Both were taken to an area hospital, where Meagher was pronounced dead.
Three other deputies who had responded to the call already were taken to a hospital after complaining of shortness of breath. They are all expected to be okay.
In a statement on Monday, Xytex sent condolences to the deputy's loved ones.
"We would like to thank the first responders for their prompt response and assistance at our facility. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Sgt. Greg Meagher, his fellow deputies and our injured employee," the statement said.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office said it received an outpouring of support from the Augusta area and nationwide.
The office directed donations to The Police Benevolent Foundation to be made "In Honor of, In Memory of Sgt. Greg Meagher."
"ALL donations will go to Sgt. Greg Meagher's children and grandchild. On behalf of Sheriff Richard Roundtree, the entire Richmond County Sheriff's Office and all the Southern States Police Benevolent Association thank you for the overwhelming support, thoughts and prayers," the office said.