Imperial Refinery Rebuilding

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PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (AP) -- Imperial Sugar is moving to quickly
rebuild the portion of its massive Georgia refinery destroyed by a
dust explosion after its board of directors approved the decision
this week.
The company's chief executive, John Sheptor, said today the Port
Wentworth refinery, the second largest in the U.S., is on track to
resume refining raw sugar before the end of year. He said a new
sugar packaging plant and storage silos, replacing those destroyed
or heavily damaged in the blast, should be completed by spring
Sheptor said the company has put 275 of the refinery's 371
employees back to work, and that number will increase in the coming
weeks as workers start cleaning hardened sugar from refining
equipment that hasn't been touched since the explosion.
Sheptor said, "There's a lot of activity. People are happy to
be back at work and looking forward to restarting this factory."
The February 7th explosion erupted when combustible sugar dust
inside the plant ignited like gunpowder. The blast killed 13 people
and injured dozens more. Six workers remain hospitalized with
severe burns, three of them in critical condition. About 12 percent
of the plant, which produces Dixie Crystals brand sugar, was
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S.
Chemical Safety Board are still investigating at the refinery.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APNP-04-18-08 1711EDT

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