Federal Investigators Might Know What Caused Muleshoe Explosion - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/23/02

Federal Investigators Might Know What Caused Muleshoe Explosion

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) is not through with their investigation regarding the Reliant Carbon Dioxide Processing plant near Muleshoe.

Reliant's Lawyer, Jim Ray said O.S.H.A. is looking at several reasons: if the plant's equipment was used properly, if the system went bad, or if it was human error. In order to determine that, they are looking at what happened before the explosion.

O.S.H.A. is not letting workers clean-up the area until their investigation is over. Clean-up could begin as early as Tuesday. Right now, O.S.H.A. and Reliant officials want to make sure the plant is safe before operations start back up.

NewsChannel 11 caught up with Muleshoe Mayor Victor Leal and asked him how an explosion affects a town of 4,842 people. "As a community, we are remote from the accident site so we are not affected greatly because of the remoteness. I think that lessens the impact of the huge feeling of loss but there is a feeling of loss in this community with the explosion."

The CO2 plant's resource is used for cleaning old oil wells and has other uses. The CO2 plant has been there for several years and the owners have never had a problem. The explosion killed 53-year-old Manuel Herrera and hurt three other workers. Herrera's funeral, we are told, is Tuesday.

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