| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Free Download of our eBook on Overcoating Bridges and Other Structures

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Horse Kicked Off Coating in Fatal Blast

Monday, February 20, 2012

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

A fatal explosion that blew apart a hyperbaric chamber at a Florida equine therapy center was caused by a steel-shoed horse kicking through the chamber’s protective coating, authorities have determined.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has ruled the blast an accident, but the state Fire Marshal’s Office and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are continuing to investigate the incident at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, in Ocala, FL.

 The explosion destroyed a hyperbaric chamber, housed in a metal barn

Marion County Sheriff's Office

The explosion destroyed a hyperbaric chamber, housed in a metal barn.

The blast killed KESMARC employee Erika Marshall, 28, and wounded a visitor from London, Sorcha Moneley, 33, who was observing the chamber’s operation in anticipation of opening a similar facility in the UK.

High-Pressure Atmosphere

The accident occurred about 10 a.m. Feb. 10.

Hyperbaric chambers, used in medical treatment, deliver 100% oxygen at a level higher than atmospheric pressure. At the equine center, the chamber was used for horses recovering from surgery, treatment of soft-tissue damage, and “rest and relaxation,” the sheriff’s department reported.

 Chamber operator Erika Marshall, 28, was killed in the explosion
Chamber operator Erika Marshall, 28, was killed in the explosion.

The chamber was housed in a large metal barn structure that also included horse stalls.

Facility owner Leonora Byrne officials told investigators that some horses are sedated before they are put in the chamber but that this horse, named Tux, had not been sedated because he had been in the chamber several times without incident. Moneley, however, said Tux had been sedated.

‘A Massive Spark’

Moneley told the sheriff’s department that Tux had been “unsettled” the entire time he was in the chamber.  After about 22 minutes, Moneley said, the horse started kicking inside the oxygen-sated atmosphere.

With a sharp kick to the rear, he dislodged a cover, “revealing raw metal to the inside of the chamber,” police reported. Soon, the women saw “a massive spark” and then flames.

 Creative Commons

 Creative Commons

Several types of hyperbaric chambers, showing control panel, monitoring facilities, and different chamber sizes, are shown in multiple facilities in Spain.

Moneley said she had run to call the fire department, while Marshall—”staring at the monitor and crying”—had tried to shut down the chamber, which she had operated for about two years.

Moneley was about 20 feet away when two blasts occurred, knocking her off her feet. She was later hospitalized with a head injury. Marshall’s body was found in the rubble of the chamber’s control room.

Exposed Steel

Moneley said the horse’s steel shoes had not been taped or padded, because the facility had a protective coating that was “not removable.”

Moneley also told investigators that the facility had complained to the chamber’s manufacturer about leaking valves and that the two parties had had “heated emails and arguments” about the issue.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Explosions; Health and safety; OSHA; Paint and coatings removal; Protective coatings

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

RPB Respiratory

With RPB Safety’s new Nova 3 Cassette Lens System which has been specifically designed to save you time and money! See the benefits for yourself now!


The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable

Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !

Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.

N.T. Ruddock Co.

Our Abrasives Hold Up Under Pressure

N. T. Ruddock focuses on abrasive selection, equipment evaluation, equipment maintenance & reduction of abrasive consumption. Other services include Screen Analysis & Background Radiation Testing.

US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

International Paint LLC
Premium Low VOC Polyurethane Finish

AkzoNobel introduces Interthane 990V as a 250 g/l HAPS free polyurethane with outstanding color and gloss retention. 990V is fast curing and applicator friendly.

Thermion Inc
Buy Back Program

We are offering $5,000
credit for your old Model
This drive system is
being discontinued by
the manufacturer.
More information at

Built for Tough Jobs

From Epoxies to Urethanes to other high solid coatings, the new Binks Airless 75 delivers a great finish using an ergonomic design. Visit for more information.

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail