Flyers decline comment on lawsuit alleging trainers were sickened by Zamboni fumes

Interim coach Mike Yeo chose not to comment when asked about the lawsuit by two members of the training staff against the Philadelphia Flyers, alleging health issues were caused by constant exposure to fumes from ice-resurfacing equipment.

In the suit, filed April 12 by firm Kline & Specter as a part of a 27-page complaint, Flyers training staff members Jim McCrossin and Sal Raffa allege exposure over the years to improperly ventilated fumes from ice-resurfacing machines – manufactured by Olympia or Zamboni, but commonly referred to as “Zambonis” – at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J., caused them serious health conditions.

The suit, which first came to light via the blog CrossingBroad and has subsequently been re-reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, alleges Comcast, owners of the Flyers and the Flyers Training Center, is liable because the training room’s proximity to the small Zamboni room caused McCrossin and Raffa to be exposed to “dangerous and excessive emissions from carcinogen-emitting equipment and/or machinery, including the Zamboni machine(s), while in operation on the rink, in the Zamboni room, and/or other locations in close proximity.”

The suit goes on to allege Comcast and the Flyers knew prolonged exposure to the ice-resurfacing machine fumes “is known to be harmful and dangerous and to increase a person’s risk of certain cancer(s), including blood cancer(s), blood disorder(s), and other blood and bone marrow disease and damage.”

McCrossin has worked for the Flyers, and in the training center, since 2000; Raffa, since 2004. Both are still with the Flyers.

The lawsuit alleges McCrossin and Raffa both have essential thrombocythemia, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “an uncommon disorder in which your body produces too many platelets.” The complaint alleges McCrossin also has developed a type of incurable blood cancer.

“Jimmy McCrossin and Sal Raffa are beloved figures in Philadelphia sports and it is our honor to represent them,” attorneys Tom Kline, Jim Waldenberger, and Elia Robertson from Kline & Specter said in a statement to the Inquirer. “Their cancer diagnoses are tragic and their exposure to toxic compounds in the workplace was unnecessary and preventable. We look forward to seeking justice for them in this very important case.”

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