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Site of explosion has previous safety violations

By Jon Erickson
Published On: Oct 27 2013 05:56:14 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 28 2013 06:56:29 PM CDT
BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY -

There is a history of health and safety violations at Atlantic Veneer, a business where a firefighter was injured Sunday when built-up steam led to the explosion of a wood-filled silo.

The North Carolina Department of Labor has issued eleven violations to the company over the past ten years; four of the violations were serious.

The company, just outside Beaufort on Lennoxville Road, makes wood products.

Before Sunday morning's fire at two silos that led to the explosion, the most recent incident was a 2008 injury that led to the partial amputation of then-employee James Clemons' right leg.

State investigators issued Atlantic Veneer a serious safety violation for that incident; regulators cited an issue with the metal guard that was meant to protect Clemons from the conveyor that caught his leg.

A 1992 explosion at the facility injured five firefighters and led to three safety violations.

The company has paid thousands of dollars in fines related to the violations.

A message seeking comment left for Atlantic Veneer's president was not returned.

The current incident is being investigated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), along with local and state authorities.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.