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Orkin Employee's Death Not Tied to Chemical Leak

February 26, 1987

An employee of an exterminating company who was found unconscious in the company's parking lot died of a heart attack that had no connection to any toxic materials, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said.

Patrick S. Stevenson, 39, a Chino resident and sales manager of Orkin Exterminating Co., was found slumped over the steering wheel of his car Jan. 14, a day after a toxic chemical leak was detected at Orkin Exterminating Co. in Glendale.

He died 90 minutes later at Glendale Memorial Hospital, prompting the attending doctor to speculate that his heart attack may have been induced by an organic phosphate poison.

However, an autopsy report released last week stated that Stevenson's heart failure had no connection to any toxic substance. "What happened was his coronary arteries were just plugged up," coroner's spokesman Gary Gilmour said.

The day before Stevenson's death, Glendale fire officials discovered Orkin employees rinsing out drums that had contained the pesticides malathion and diazinon. A Los Angeles County Department of Health Services hazardous-materials team removed three five-gallon drums of ethylene dibromide, a highly toxic chemical, after a leak was discovered in one of the drums, fire officials said.

The firm is under investigation by the district attorney for possible improper handling of hazardous materials, authorities said.

The company has since moved from south Glendale to Pasadena.

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