To friends and family, Daniel Ferraro was a fun-loving guy with a unique personality. But his life was cut tragically short Jan. 2 when a pipe bomb he was experimenting with exploded at his West Chester, Ohio residence.
Daniel, 19, was a sophomore psychology major at Miami University, a member of the university’s ROTC and an Eagle Scout.
According to his sister, Miami junior Victoria Ferraro, he had a unique zest for life.
“Daniel was the kind of person who, pretty much his entire life, was full of energy,” Victoria said. “As a little kid he was jumping around everywhere-he was always excited about everything.”
Jason Hill, Daniel’s roommate, said Daniel could always find something fun to do.
“He definitely had a great sense of humor-a quirky sense of humor,” Hill said. “He was just a really goofy, fun kid.”
Daniel was trying to use a homemade pipe bomb to demolish an old fort in his backyard when the blast fatally injured him. Victoria said despite some portrayals of the situation, Daniel wasn’t trying to be destructive.
“It was a wooden fort he had built quite a while ago and (he didn’t make the bomb) so much to destroy it as to experiment with what would happen,” Victoria said. “And honestly I think that structure was the only thing he could come up with that would satisfy his curiosity.”
She said he had an interest in guns and explosives, but not in a destructive or malicious way. Perhaps those interests would have carried through to a career for Daniel some day, Victoria said.
Daniel’s three friends who were present at the time of the explosion face charges from the West Chester Police Department. According to records obtained from the police, a 14-year-old from West Chester is facing one charge of involuntary manslaughter and one charge of illegally making explosives. A 15-year-old West Chester resident faces one charge of involuntary manslaughter and one charge of illegal possession of explosives.
Robert Moser, 19, of West Chester, faces involuntary manslaughter and unlawful possession of dangerous ordinance.
Tony Ferraro, Daniel’s father and energy management engineer at Miami, came to Moser’s arraignment Jan. 8 to show support for the young man.
“The best you can hope for is some type of probation,” Tony said. “We don’t want to see (Moser receive maximum penalties).”
Sergeant Steve Oaks of the West Chester Police Department said he was unsure how long the court cases could last.
“This could be over with in a very short time or it could drag on,” Oaks said. “And this is one of those cases that they are probably going to look at very closely.”
Claire Wagner, assistant director of university communications at Miami, said that Daniel’s death is a loss to the university community.
“By all accounts, Daniel was a young man who had a lot of energy and excitement for life,” Wagner said. “Any time we lose a student at Miami, it hurts deeply because it is a life unfulfilled.”
One memory of Daniel that will stay with Victoria is when her family went tree hunting over Winter Break.
“Daniel had his Southpark pajama pants on and this weird hillbilly-looking hat with earflaps-weirdest outfit we’ve ever seen,” Victoria said. “At the tree place, he was jumping around, hugging the trees, pretending he was hunting rabbits-he thought he was hilarious … And we were all watching like, ‘Hello, where does all this energy come from and are we really related to you?’ And honestly that was probably like the paraphrasing of his life.”
Victoria Ferraro is grateful for her brother’s attitude throughout his life.
“When people say living life in the moment-he was that type of person,” Victoria said. “He was a very in the moment person, enjoying what was happening just then. And we almost are grateful for that because as much as that didn’t make sense at the time, he made it that his life is so full of exciting things he loved dearly that I don’t think there is anything that he did that was a waste.”
Daniel’s family and Boy Scout Troop 974 established a memorial fund through Fifth Third Bank to provide money to finance future Eagle Scout projects.
“Lots of times, organizations want something done but don’t have enough money,” Tony said. “Scouts will put in the sweat equity, but funds are still needed.”
Daniel became an Eagle Scout in 2005, according to Tony. People can go to any Fifth Third Bank and mention the account to donate funds.