Investigation, blood drives continue for refinery victims

February 18, 2008

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- A federal investigator says dust in a piece
of safety equipment caused a small explosion at a Port Wentworth
sugar refinery weeks before sugar dust beneath the plant's silos
ignited to cause a deadly blast that killed nine workers.

Stephen Selk, investigations manager for the U-S Chemical Safety
Board, had few details about the previous explosion at the Imperial
Sugar refinery. He could not say whether the earlier blast
contributed to the massive explosion on February Seventh.

Selk told reporters today that no one was injured in the earlier

The Chemical Safety Board investigates industrial accidents for
the federal government and makes safety recommendations to industry
and trade groups as well as federal regulators.

It has just begun looking into the refinery blast after criminal
investigators determined Friday the explosion was accidental --
caused by clouds of tiny sugar dust particles that, when airborne
in confined spaces, can ignite like gunpowder.

Meanwhile, with more surgeries in their future,the need for blood is not going away anytime soon. You can donate Tuesday.

The Hampton Inn on Washington Road and T-bones are co-sponsoring a blood drive from 11 a-m from 4 p-m.

Many of the victims families are staying at the Hampton Inn.
As an incentive to give blood, the hotel is giving every 10th donor a weekend stay.

The 100th donor will receive a weekend stay with breakfast for two at The Courtyard by Marriott in Charleston.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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