Tank Explosion- Dive Shop Owner Killed

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Posted by Maddiver on November 14, 2001 at 10:13:05:

From today's (Nov. 14) Press Journal of Vero Beach:

Air tank blast kills dive shop owner
November 14,2001
By Tony Judnich
staff writer
The 72-year-old co-owner of Dive Center of Sebastian was killed Tuesday
when an air tank he had been filling exploded and blew out part of the
Ron Scherrer, of Sebastian, died from massive chest and head trauma from
the explosion at the Dive Center about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Sebastian Police
Detective Joe Dillon said.
The cause of the explosion wasn't immediately known.
"It appears to be purely accidental," Dillon said. "We're treating it just
as a mishap at this time."
The Dive Center is at 1716 U.S. 1, at the southeast corner of the
intersection of U.S. 1 and Madison Street.
Scherrer's wife and the store's co-owner, Virgene, had been working behind
a counter at the center when the explosion occurred, but she was not
injured, Dillon said.
A male customer, whose name was not available, had been at the counter when
the accident happened, but he also was not injured, Dillon said.
Scherrer had been filling a tank with compressed air for the customer,
Indian River County Fire Capt. Robert VonBuelow said. The air tank had been
in a cooling tank, along with two other air tanks, just inside and to the
left of the front door, he said.
The force of the blast threw Scherrer into a corner on the other side of
the door, Dillon said.
The tank Scherrer had been filling was split wide open by the explosion.
VonBuelow said all three tanks that had been in the cooling tank probably
would be sent to the Dive Center's insurance company for further analysis.
Five wooden portions of a roof overhang, stretching about seven feet on the
Dive Center's east side, near the front door, were blown off from the
explosion. Some cement blocks on the east wall were dislodged. On the
building's west side, a hole about 2-by-2 feet was blown out of a cement
, about 30 feet across from the front door. Chunks of cement were strewn on
the grass outside of the building, close to traffic moving north on U.S. 1.
Investigators were unsure how the hole was created.
Inside, portions of the center's ceiling were left hanging.
The Scherrers had opened the Dive Center in 1982.

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