Garner honors ConAgra victims

GARNER Mayor Ronnie Williams led the event which began at 11:27 a.m. - the exact time that the first 911 calls began flooding in to emergency service workers.

A bell tolled three times for the three people who lost their lives in the blast and building collapse.

A ConAgra official said his company also honored the dead by asking employees at all of its other plants to stop work at the same time and remember the victims.

Barbara Spears, Rachel Pulley and Louis Watson Jr. lost their lives on Tuesday. Many others were injured. Four of those are still in critical condition in the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Two others remain hospitalized.

Investigators say a natural gas leak was to blame for the explosion which leveled a wall at the factory and brought down part of the roof.

The first lawsuit in the incident has already been filed. Attorney J. David Stradley in Johnston County filed a complaint on Monday on behalf of two ConAgra employees.

The suit claims Southern Industrial, a company ConAgra hired to do natural gas work at the factory, was negligent.

Stradley stated in court documents that the employees are seeking $10,000 for their injuries.

ConAgra asked about 50 employees to return to work Tuesday to help clean up the north end of the plant, some declined, saying it was too difficult emotionally.

ConAgra is has brought in counselors to help employees cope with what happened.

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