2nd Arrest in Hyperbaric Chamber Fire Deaths

Dr. George Daviglus faces charges of manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter, BSO says

Monday, Apr 30, 2012  |  Updated 11:26 PM EDT
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Manslaughter Arrest in Hyperbaric Fire

Broward Sheriff's Office

Dr. George Daviglus

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Manslaughter Arrest in Hyperbaric Fire

Detectives escorted Lance Bark into the Broward County Main Jail at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday after they arrested him on charges of manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter for the deaths of two people in a hyperbaric chamber fire in 2009. Bark and Dr. George Daviglus, who faces the same charges, of the Ocean Hyperbaric Neurologic Center were grossly negligent in failing to maintain the equipment in which patient Francesco Martinisi, 4, and his grandmother Vincenza Pesce died, authorities said. Investigators also said nobody was in the treatment room overseeing the procedure. "They suffered in there, and they couldn't get any help," BSO Detective Frank Ilarraza said. "There was nobody around when this occurred."
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Authorities said they made a second arrest for the deaths of two people in a 2009 hyperbaric chamber fire in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, as expected.

Dr. George Daviglus, the medical director of what was then the Ocean Hyperbaric Neurologic Center and what is now the Neubauer Hyperbaric Neurologic Center, was arrested Sunday morning at the Broward County Main Jail and charged with manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

He and center employee Lance Bark, who was arrested last week, were grossly negligent in failing to maintain the equipment in which Vincenza Pesce, 62, and her 4-year-old grandson Francesco Martinisi perished when a chamber exploded on May 1, 2009, according to the BSO.

A fire was started by static electricity inside the chamber, and the two victims were engulfed in flames in the nearly two minutes it took to free them, according to the BSO.

Daviglus, 81, of Miami has worked at the hyperbaric center since 1998 and told police that he runs its day-to-day operations, according to the affidavit against him. The BSO blamed him and Bark, saying that they did not properly supervise Pesce and her grandson when they were inside the chamber and did not know the proper decompression procedures once the fire began.

Bond for Daviglus, 81, of Miami was set at $10,000 for each of the charges, and he bonded out later on Sunday, the BSO said.

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