Local News

ConAgra to repay Raleigh for plant blast response

Posted June 2, 2010 2:35 p.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2010 3:38 p.m. EDT

— ConAgra Foods Inc. will pay Raleigh $42,858 for the city's emergency response after the explosion last June at the ConAgra plant in Garner, officials said Wednesday.

The explosion ripped through the plant on June 9, killing three workers and injuring dozens of others. An outside contractor also died last fall after suffering extensive burns in the blast.

Raleigh incurred expenses for its Urban Search and Rescue Team, which assisted in locating the bodies of the ConAgra workers inside the plant, said Frank McLaurin, a battalion chief for the Raleigh Fire Department. Other expenses included renting cranes to help remove debris and staffing Raleigh fire stations while firefighters responded to the explosion, he said.

Federal investigators determined the Garner plant blast was caused by contractors venting natural gas inside the facility while installing a water heater.

ConAgra officials announced in March that the plant, which reopened last August, would close by September 2011 because the explosion cut into its capacity to produce Slim Jim beef jerky products. The closure will eliminate about 450 jobs.