NY Pastor Dies Following Explosion at Gas Pump

A pastor who served at a Presbyterian church in New York died Tuesday after sustaining severe injuries in a Connecticut gas station explosion last month. He was 60 years old.

The Rev. David Wentroble, who served as pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church of Haverstraw, N.Y., suffered from severe burns when a gas pump at the Wheels Citgo in Danbury, Conn., erupted into a ball of fire on Dec. 20. The pastor, who lived in Danbury, sustained severe second and third degree burns to 60 percent of his body, and although doctors at the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit tried to stabilize the pastor through medically induced comas and skin graft operations, the 60-year-old man ultimately passed away Tuesday evening around 7 p.m.

Wentroble had reportedly been drinking a Dunkin Donuts coffee around 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 20 when the gas pump he was using exploded into flames. Danbury Fire Chief Geoff Herald has ruled the explosion to be an accident, saying that authorities are still unsure of what caused the pump to explode, although it's possible static electricity sparked the incident.

Along with serving at the Central Presbyterian Church, Wentroble was also the Director of Pastoral Care at Nyack Hospital in Nyack, N.Y. David H. Freed, DHA, president & CEO of Nyack Hospital, released a statement Tuesday, mourning the loss of Wentroble.

"In his position as Director of Pastoral Care, Reverend Wentroble was both a resource and a friend to countless patients and staff members. His involvement in people of all faiths' most wonderful and most difficult moments alike helped to double their pleasures and halve their sorrows, respectively. He seemed to be omnipresent throughout Nyack Hospital and we will all continue to feel his presence yet miss him terribly."

Dr. Fernando Arzola, Jr., pastor of the First Reformed Church of Nyack, added a brief eulogy to Wentroble on his church's website. Wentroble was a well-respected member of the Hudson Valley Presbyterian community. "A terrible loss of a gentle and compassionate man. I know you join me in keeping his family, friends and colleagues in our thoughts and prayers," Pastor Arzola wrote.