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Minister In Gas Station Explosion Dies Of Burns

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ The pastor of a Presbyterian church in New York has died a month after being severely burned in a gas station explosion in Connecticut, which officials say may have been sparked by static electricity.

David Wentroble, 60, died Tuesday, a Bridgeport Hospital spokeswoman said. He had been in critical condition in the hospital’s burn unit since the Dec. 20 explosion in Danbury.

Wentroble, who lived in Danbury, was pastor at the Central Presbyterian Church in Haverstraw, N.Y., and pastoral care director at Nyack Hospital in Nyack, N.Y., both of which are located in Rockland County.

“David was a terrific guy and he’s going to be sorely missed here at Nyack Hospital and in the county,” the Rev. Warren Brandt, a friend and colleague, told The Journal News.

Brandt told the newspaper that the funeral would be private and a memorial service is planned for March.

Wentroble had just bought coffee and was pumping gas at a Citgo station when the explosion occurred.

Danbury officials ruled the blast an accident. The exact cause was never determined, but mechanical defects were ruled out and authorities said there was no evidence of a lit cigarette or other flame near the pump. Fire

Chief Geoff Herald has said it’s possible that static electricity sparked the explosion.

Nyack Hospital President David Freed said in a statement that Wentroble was a friend to countless patients and staffers.

“His involvement in people of all faiths’ most wonderful and most difficult moments alike helped to double their pleasures and halve their sorrows, respectively,” Freed said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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