Editors Blog


Taking Care of Business: Family of Slain Tech Needs Help

December 3, 2007
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Compared to police officers or firemen, being an HVAC service tech should not be a dangerous job. In fact, if a tech follows proper safety procedures he or she might find their jobs to be extremely safe. But sometimes things get out of whack and a tech has no control over a situation he/she finds himself/herself in.

That’s what happened with 42-year-old service tech Carl Tomberlain, an employee of Petro Oil in Southampton, Pa., on the evening of Wednesday, November 7. Tomberlain was responding to a no-heat call from Temple University students but when he got no response after visiting the home, he returned to his truck. That’s when something went very wrong - possibly a robbery attempt - and Tomberlain was shot to death.

Police are still trying to determine the motive, which may not have been robbery; and they are looking for two suspects.

In the meantime, Tomberlain’s death has opened a large void in the lives of his wife and two daughters, ages 16 and 10. I doubt that they find any solace in the fact that their father and husband died while doing his job. No HVAC technician should die doing his or her job, especially from a bullet.

I’ve done stories on contractors who refuse to send their techs into dangerous neighborhoods at night or who send two techs to a job that would normally require one because of the “seedy” surroundings. Tomberlain was working alone, trying to make extra money to give his family a better Christmas. Now instead of exchanging gifts, the daughters and wife must exchange memories of this man who supported his family.

A fund has been established by Petro to help out the family. Please see it in your heart to help them out this holiday season. To donate, send a check or money order to: Carl Tomberlain Benefit Account c/o Bob Gussoni, 650 Knowles Ave., Southampton, PA 18966. [Editor's Note: An earlier version had the incorrect state. We regret this error.]

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Address Correction

John Williams
December 3, 2007
John, Thanks for the write up. Also, please correct the address as it should be Southampton, PA. 18966. Have a few friends who live in that area, including a former instructor, and they are all very shaken up by this. Thanks, John Williams Carrier Corporation

Please note correction

John R. Hall
December 4, 2007
City mailing address is Southampton, PA 18966. Thanks for making a note of this, John. There is also an auction going on for the family at www.oiltechtalk.com.

My thoughts and prayers

Alan R. Mercurio
December 9, 2007
John, though we all know the potential for something this tragic is possible it’s surely the last thing myself or any technician would believe could happen to any of us. Carl’s tragic loss has made many of us step back and realize we are living and dieing in much different times. Today’s society is in very sad state and I pray the lord this will change. My heartfelt prayers have been with Carl and his family. Rest in peace my friend.

Youth dies

Brian Baker
December 10, 2007
We had a young 19 yesr old working for us who was murdered as well this year and it was a very low period for not only the family but for our employees and ourselves. It hit our small business very hard and so many clients called and sent letters because they remembered our silent giant Josh Prince. God bless all our young people. To all Contractors... "We must know and understand our youth and all the dangers that they face and work to minimize the exposure." Brian & Denise Baker Custom Vac Limited Winnipeg, MB Canada

Youth dies

Brian Baker
December 10, 2007
We had a young 19 yesr old working for us who was murdered as well this year and it was a very low period for not only the family but for our employees and ourselves. It hit our small business very hard and so many clients called and sent letters because they remembered our silent giant Josh Prince. God bless all our young people. To all Contractors... "We must know and understand our youth and all the dangers that they face and work to minimize the exposure." Brian & Denise Baker Custom Vac Limited Winnipeg, MB Canada

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