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Republican-American Story

Stamford Advocate Story

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Air Accident Claims Life
By Bill Mills
November 13, 2002

Multiple news agencies have reported that Ralph Sanzeri Jr., a 31 year old volunteer  firefighter in Thomaston, Connecticut was fatally wounded while filling a paintball compressed air tank in his bait and tackle shop.

One report states that Sanzeri, who had filled many tanks in the past, was using a new filling apparatus which exploded causing the injury.  Another account says a tank exploded.  It is not yet clear whether it was fill equipment, a paintball tank, or a storage tank (such as a SCUBA tank) which failed, or if the equipment in question had current hydrotest certification. 

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is reportedly investigating the actual cause of the accident.  It is hoped that this investigation will reveal the cause of the accident, and thus help prevent similar accidents in the future.

While compressed air injuries have been extremely rare in paintball, this event only underscores the seriousness paintball players and members of the paintball industry must take concerning the handling of compressed gasses, and proper ratings and certification of compressed air equipment.

The staff is praying for the friends and family of Mr. Sanzeri, and offers their condolences in this time of loss.

[Update November 15, 2003]
While the OSHA investigation continues, early reports conveyed through reliable sources contradict internet rumors about the cause of the failure.  It appears that neither the paintball tank, or fill connector (or its ball bearings) failed.


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