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OSHA Investigating 2 Fatal Blasts In 2 Weeks

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 2:06pm
The Associated Press

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — The mother of a man who died in an explosion at a Pascagoula fertilizer factory says her son never spoke of any safety problems at the plant.

Twenty-year-old Jeremy Moore of Hurley died Friday — the second man to die in two weeks in an explosion in that part of the Mississippi Phosphates Corp. plant.

His mother, Melissa Good Hearndon, of Hurley, told The Mississippi Press (http://bit.ly/JDdJlL) that she's reserving judgment until investigations of the explosion are complete.

"The plant manager was with me for most of the day yesterday," she said.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration said it is investigating both that explosion and the one that killed Jeffrey Simpson, 39, of Pascagoula on May 21.

The company, based in Madison, Miss., said it is cooperating with all government agencies and gathering information to pinpoint the causes of both explosions. Mississippi Phosphates makes a widely used crop fertilizer known as diammonium phosphate, or DAP.

Two of Moore's coworkers, Jeffrey Beck of Pascagoula and Donnie Scudder of Escatawpa, were injured Friday and remained hospitalized.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency cited the plant for improper safety equipment, improper storage, and chemical leaks on the ground. In February, the EPA and the company reached an agreement on corrective actions that company officials said would cost it about $2.5 million.

OSHA said late last week that the four serious violations it had identified in 2009 had been corrected, and that Mississippi Phosphates paid a fine of $5,000 for them.

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