When sugar dust ignites: questions shadow Ga blast

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Jamie Butler still needs physical therapy
once a day to stretch the skin grafts on his arms, hands and legs.

He still takes painkillers. And he needs steroid injections to reduce scarring on his face, now covered by a black mask that applies healing pressure to the skin.

It's been a year since he survived badly burned a huge blast at
the Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah, Ga.

The 26-year-old can't forget what happened at the nation's
second-largest sugar refinery on Feb. 7, 2008. And he wonders why
his 35-year-old brother had to die when fine sugar dust exploded.

John Calvin Butler Jr. worked beside his brother filling bags of
sugar. He was one of 14 people who died in the blast that injured
40 others.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed $8.7 million in fines against Sugar Land, Texas-based Imperial Sugar. It
cited the company for 211 safety violations at its refineries in

Port Wentworth, Ga., where the blast occurred and in Gramercy, La.
Imperial Sugar is contesting the fines.

But the United States still lacks federal regulations requiring industrial plants to prevent the buildup of fine dust particles that can form explosive clouds in confined areas.

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