Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Firefighter dies after pet viper bites him

The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio - A snake collector died Monday, a day after one of his venomous pets bit him.

Michael Peterman, 48, was pronounced dead at 3:17 p.m. at University of Cincinnati Hospital, the Hamilton County coroner's office said. An autopsy was scheduled for today, , he said.

Peterman, a Dayton firefighter who collected snakes and lizards at his Dayton home, was bitten by an African rhino viper Sunday night.

He was taken to Miami Valley Hospital around 7:30 p.m. before he was flown to the Cincinnati hospital, said fire Lt. Dan Stockstill.

Doctors treated Peterman with a special type of anti-venom flown in from Miami, said nursing supervisor Robert Dees.

Animal rescuer Tim Harrison, called to identify the animal, thinks Peterman may have aggravated the snake during feeding. Harrison said the snake can strike quickly when threatened or hungry.

The snake was taken to Heaven's Corner Zoo for Endangered Animals in nearby West Alexandria.

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