City employee dies on the job in East Texas

By Elizabeth Thomas - email
and Samantha Jordan - bio | email

SULPHUR SPRINGS, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man is dead after he drowned inside a manhole early Wednesday morning.

The accident happened around 8:15a.m. at Coleman Park, in Sulphur Springs

Francisco Melendez, 42, worked for the City of Sulphur Springs for 14 years.

"We all called him Frankie. Frankie he was just the nicest guy you'd ever meet and you'd never see him without a smile no matter how rough the day was. Frankie always managed to smile and brightened your day and you would never meet a person who didn't like Frankie, said Marc Maxwell, Sulphur Springs City Manager.

Maxwell said Francisco, Frankie, was working at Coleman Park when a simple task went terribly wrong.

"He was in a man whole retrieving a plug that was holding back water from upstream and then something happened, he got his foot stuck and the manhole filled up with water and he drowned," said Maxwell.

Maxwell said once authorities got Francisco's body out of the manhole they tried to revive, but were unsuccessful. Francisco was pronounced dead around 10a.m. at a local hospital in Sulphur Springs.

Eucebia Ramirez, Francisco's neighbor of more than 20 years said he was a hard working man who always checked up on her.

"He was a good man and a hard worker. I feel so bad that this happened to him," said Ramirez.

Maxwell said Francisco's work crew, as well as the people who were present during the accident, have all been offered therapy to cope with this loss of a co-worker and friend.

City officials said this case is far from being closed and are going to continue investigating this accident.

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