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'One-of-a-Kind' Ex-Mayor Killed After Guac Maker Explodes

Blast during test run of 'high-pressure vessel' kills Joseph Kapp, 67, former mayor of Rensselaer, NY
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2020 10:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – A food processing machine that was being tested for preparing guacamole exploded this week at an upstate New York test site, killing a former mayor and injuring two others, per NBC New York. The blast happened just after 7am Wednesday at Innovative Test Solutions in Schenectady, with Don Mareno, the assistant chief of the city's fire department, telling the Times Union that the machine involved was a "high-pressure vessel." Joseph Kapp, 67, who was once the mayor of nearby Rensselaer, died at a local hospital after the explosion. Two other people were hospitalized, apparently with non-life-threatening injuries, Mareno says.

Authorities don't think the explosion is suspicious at this time, per WRGB, which adds the ITS building sustained damage that wasn't significant. Kapp served as mayor of Rensselaer in the 1990s and was currently the vice chair of Hudson Valley Community College's board of trustees. It's not clear why Kapp was on-site at the time of the explosion; ITS CEO Scott Briody says Kapp was one of the company's clients. "Joe Kapp was truly one [of] a kind and cannot be easily replaced," current Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel tells the Times Union. (Read more explosion stories.)

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