$242,000 in fines requested against Pyro fireworks plant

Saturday, December 1, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- An eastern Missouri fireworks plant where three workers were severely burned in a June explosion should pay $242,000 in fines, federal workplace safety investigators said Friday, citing two earlier accidents that killed two other workers at the site.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 11 citations against Grubville-based Pyro Products Inc. for the site's use of unapproved electrical equipment and "other safety violations" related to the June 6 explosion that injured three women.

The victims suffered burns, smoke inhalation and injuries from flying debris.

Given that the explosion was the plant's third in a 19-month period, "OSHA's strong enforcement action in this case is fully warranted," Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said in a statement. "The earlier accidents cost the lives of two workers and we can't afford further fatalities."

Explosions at the site in November 1999 and in September 2000 killed two workers.

Messages left Friday at Pyro Products, once considered among the industry's safest by the American Pyrotechnics Association, were not immediately returned.

The June explosion virtually flattened one of several buildings at the factory owned by Pyro Products and its sister company, Sunset Fireworks Ltd., about 40 miles southwest of St. Louis.

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