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Ghillie Suit Fire Injures Player
21 Jan 2003

January 19th, at a private paintball field in Palm Bay, Florida, 44 year old Russel Ventrol was amongst the players getting ready for a day of paintball.  

A fire had been set the night before, presumed by some to be the work of one or more homeless people seeking warmth while using the sturdy bunkers for shelter through the night.  Several of the players at the field pitched in and made sure the fire's coals were contained so that it would not start a grass or brush fire.  As the first game was about to start, Ventrol, clad in a ghillie suit, reportedly spotted an ember in the grass and attempted to kick it into the ash pile.

According to Palm Bay paramedic Glenn Bryant, the ghillie suit ignited and burned rapidly.  Bryant reports that paintballer Larry Miller spotted Ventrol in distress and tackled him to the ground where he and other players rolled Ventrol, beating out the flames, some burning their hands in the process.

Ventrol was rushed to the hospital with second and third degree burns over 45 percent of his body and possible lung damage from inhaling superheated air.  He is in serious condition at the Orlando Regional Medical Center burn unit.  

According to, third degree burns over 30 percent of the body can cost as much as $200,000 in initial hospital and physician’s fees, not counting reconstruction and rehabilitation costs.  Bryant credits the layers of cotton clothing beneath the ghillie suit Ventrol was wearing as protecting him from even worse injury.

This marks the second incident reported to in which severe injury or death resulted from a ghillie suit catching fire.  Players with ghillie suits and or any loose floppy clothing should be cautioned to make sure that clothing has been treated with fire retardant, and be extra careful of any exposed ignition sources at in the playing and staging area, including cigarettes and camp fires.  This incident also underscores the importance of checking the playing field for hazards prior the start of a day’s games.

The WARPIG staff would like to invite others to join them in praying for Ventrol to have a full and complete recovery. 

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