ALDAN — The two men who died working in a manhole Thursday morning - two young, promising lives lost far too soon - are being remembered throughout the area.
Compliments from law enforcement officials, school personnel and friends started to fill social media after the sudden deaths of Matthew DiSands, 20, of Prospect Park, and Daniel Cleaver, 28, of Norwood, as they worked on a sewer line in Aldan as contractors for Glenolden-based A to U Services Inc.
“The Buc football community lost a great one in Matt DiSands today,” read a post on the Interboro Football Team Twitter page late Thursday night. “Thoughts and prayers go out to all involved. Matt will always be remembered for his toughness and being a great teammate. He will be missed. #5.”
“Today I pause to remember Danny and Matt. I also virtually hug the community I have spent most of my life in and thank God for,” wrote Sabrina Daluisio on Twitter Friday morning. “Keep the Cleaver and DiSands families in your thoughts and prayers. They need it.”
DiSands and Cleaver were both alumni of Interboro High School. DiSands recently completed training at the Delaware County Municipal Police Academy and was about to start a career in law enforcement, following the footsteps of his father.
“I taught DiSands (at the police academy), and he really was a good kid,” said Aldan Police Chief Ken Coppola Thursday evening. “He did a nice job there.”
Coppola also spoke well of Cleaver and his family (his father, James, owns A to U Services and Cleaver Cable Construction).
“He is just a quality guy who would do anything. He is such a nice guy,” said Coppola, who is the chief to Dan’s brother, Matt, a part-time police officer in Aldan.
On the whole, Coppola called the tragic deaths a “sad situation, horrible accident.”
Interboro School Board member Justin Shivone was particularly close with Cleaver, growing up with him through school and remaining great friends up until his death. Writing about his memories of Cleaver for the Delco Times was, "hands down the hardest thing I've ever done."
"Danny Cleaver was the greatest person to have in my life and the lives of many throughout Delaware County. He we caring and compassionate. He was funny and could play a great joke on people. He knew when to mess around but also when to get stuff done," wrote Shivone.
He continued, "Growing up we had some great times and best friends like Danny aren’t easy to come by. Yesterday (Thursday), when I got the call memories of playing 'Halo' after school or riding a quad in the Poconos all came rushing back. Memories of student council trips and proms in high school all came rushing back.
"Memories of our adult life came rushing back like the birth of his son, Ethan, or his proposal to his beautiful finance, Anna. Memories like standing by my side while getting married or being in the waiting room while my daughter was born. We have always been by each other’s side during the biggest moments of our lives and right there when we needed a hand with the little things.
"And what hurts the most is we still had so many more things to do."
Bernadette Reiley, superintendent of Interboro School District, issued a statement on the loss of two former Bucs.
“The Interboro School District is saddened by the tragic loss of these two fine young men, who were active members of our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones during this difficult time,” she said.
Counseling services will be available at Interboro High School Monday morning from 9 a.m. to noon for students, family members or staff. The district also has links available to emotion and mental health resources on their website under the quick links tab.
Cleaver and DiSands were doing a sewage dye test Thursday morning in a manhole at South Sycamore Avenue at Rively Avenue. Two of their co-workers were located one block up at West Magnolia Avenue and South Sycamore Avenue in Aldan Borough. Communication was lost between the two pairs and Cleaver and DiSands’ were found unconscious approximately 30 feet down in their manhole. Their co-workers immediately called 911 at 11:16 a.m. and the two men were recovered within the hour, according to Aldan Police Chief Ken Coppola.
They were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to the accident scene and continues to investigate.