Paint Fumes May be to Blame for Death of Lubbock Man - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/11/05

Paint Fumes May be to Blame for Death of Lubbock Man

The West Lubbock house was under construction.  37-year-old Jeff Shellman had been painting inside the basement.  Around 7:30 a.m., a paint crew found the man dead.

Shellman's family met police at the house where his body was found. Shellman's 11-year-old son was one of them. Lubbock police say Shellman was spraying primer inside the basement of this house Wednesday afternoon. Brother-in-law Steve Matthews, a paint contractor himself, says Shellman left work at seven that evening. "I talked to his father-in-law and he said he came home to eat, took a shower and came back to get his equipment because people are stealing stuff out of houses," said Matthews.

Shellman's crew found him Thursday morning slouched in the basement. He was already dead. "Once you leave a job and go home to clean-up you don't go back to paint," said Matthews.

Police say Shellman was not wearing a mask when they found him and the house was totally enclosed with no ventalation. They do not believe foul play was involved. The family thinks Shellman could have had a heart attack, but they won't know for sure until the medical examiner is through with the report.

If autopsy reports confirm Shellman died from paint fumes, he will be the third painter to die on the South Plains this summer.

Back in June, J.D. Saddler and his son J.D. Saddler Junior died after inhaling toxic fumes. The men were painting a basement in Lamesa. Another man, D.J. Turner survived the incident.

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