Amherst farmer, 13 cattle die in gas poisoning

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AMHERST, Wis. (WSAW)-- A 29-year-old Amherst man died Monday morning from gas poisoning while performing a routine task on the family farm.

The Portage County coroner said Michael Biadasz and 13 cattle died near a manure holding tank on the farm located on County Rd D in the Town of Buena Vista.

Scott Rifleman said Biadasz was outside. Atmospheric pressure prevented the gas from dissipating.

Rifleman said he has seen gas poisoning deaths before; however, they typically occur in a closed area.

Rifleman is awaiting toxicology to determine whether methane gas or sulfur dioxide is to blame for the deaths.

Biadasz's obituary states a memorial will be established in his name for a farm safety program.

While deaths from methane gas are rare, they do occur. In 2007, five members of a Virginia family were killed when a pipe became blocked causing a build up of methane gas.