Memorial marks ConAgra explosion one year ago

A ConAgra Slim Jim meat products food plant is shown after an explosion in Garner, N.C., Tuesday, June 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds, Pool)
June 9, 2010 3:59:36 PM PDT
ConAgra employees remembered their coworkers Wednesday morning during a memorial.

The memorial marks the explosion at the Garner plant one year ago that killed four people. There was a private service for plant workers and then a public dedication of a memorial plaque Wednesday afternoon.

Since the explosion, ConAgra announced it will close the plant in 2011 and donate the land to the Town of Garner. It's the only facility that manufactures Slim Jims. That production will move to an Ohio plant.

About 400 people remain employed at the Garner plant.

In an investigation of the explosion, the U.S. Department of Labor found more than two dozen safety violations and fined ConAgra $106,000.

Following the investigation, about two dozen ConAgra workers filed a lawsuit in April against more than a dozen contractors and the Town of Garner.

Lawyers allege that Jacobs Engineering Group failed to properly monitor the installation and permitted the purging of a gas line that allowed natural gas to build up inside the building -- causing the deadly blast.

The lawsuit also alleges that water heater maker Energy Systems Analysts, Inc. was responsible for purging the gas line.

The Town of Garner is accused of allowing gas line welders, who were not properly licensed, to work on the project.

ConAgra is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which asks for damages greater than $10,000 for each plaintiff.

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