Workers File Suit Against Triumph Foods

Eleven of the 14 construction workers injured in an explosion at a new pork processing plant in St. Joseph have filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from six defendants.

The Oct. 12 explosion at the nearly completed $130 million Triumph Foods plant killed one worker.

The state fire marshal found that gas leaking from an open valve fueled the blast. The fire marshal"s report listed halogen lighting, fans in the ductwork of the heating system, and a striker and torch found in the hallway of the kitchen as possible ignition sources.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Buchanan County Circuit Court, lists 66 counts of negligence. In addition to Triumph Foods, defendants are Missouri Gas Energy of Kansas City; A. Epstein and Sons International Inc. of Chicago; IHP Industrial of St. Joseph; Superior Air Handling Corp. of Clearfield, Utah; and Dragoo Metal Works of St. Joseph.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants didn"t properly conduct repairs, service work, testing, inspections, gas pipeline installation, equipment hookup or plant operations.

IHP was contracted to install natural gas pipe at the plant, and Superior and Dragoo were contractors installing the heating and air-handling units.

The lawsuit alleges that Missouri Gas Energy didn"t properly put odorant in its natural gas, which doesn"t have an odor otherwise.

The lawsuit also alleges that Triumph Foods and Epstein, which was the construction manager of the project, didn"t ensure that the premises were safe.

Kansas City Star



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