Brother of ConAgra victim frustrated

June 12, 2009 11:03:19 AM PDT
Crews found 43-year-old Barbara Spears' body in the rubble of the ConAgra Garner plant Wednesday morning. "It seems as if she should come down this road any second now," said Anthony McLean, Spears' brother.

But she won't go down Little Ave. in Harnett County to the small house where she grew up. Now, flowers hang by the door.

Spears worked at ConAgra for 14 years and was one of three workers who didn't make it out of the plant Tuesday.

"The last thing I told her was I'll see you tomorrow, which would've been Tuesday after work, and you have no words," McLean said.

She was a big sister to her brothers Anthony and Brad McLean. They say she wasn't just a sibling, but she was more like a second mother. She loved to cook for them or just talk.

"I know my sister loved my brother and I, her family, her friends, but I know she loved me so deeply, and I loved her, so I'm not having those sleepless nights," Anthony McLean said.

Tuesday when they heard about the explosion, Spears' brothers rushed to the scene, parked their truck and ran through a wooded area to reach the plant.

They were told their sister was one of the three unaccounted for. They went to the Garner Senior Center and then to WakeMed, but they did not find her.

Spears' husband called Wednesday morning -- the same morning searchers discovered her body.

Now, the family grieves, but they are frustrated with ConAgra.

McLean says his sister's supervisor visited the family Thursday but no one else from the company has called or visited.

The family can't help but think the tragedy may have been avoided.

"Naturally there's gonna be some major accountability issues with Con Agra foods," McLean said. "Cause as we all know, there were many issues that have been band-aided for some time, and there's some negligence there."

But he says that conversation can wait because the family's focus is on his sister.

"She was just a loving, fun person," he said. "If you look at that smile that she has, that's the thing that I carry with me."

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