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Sep 14, 2009

CSB to Hold Public Meeting in Savannah, Georgia, September 24; Board will Consider Final Investigation Report on Fatal Dust Explosion at Imperial Sugar Refinery

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Washington, DC, September 15, 2009 - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced that it will convene a public meeting on Thursday September 24, 2009, in Savannah, Georgia, to review the final CSB investigation report on the causes of the February 2008 dust explosions and fire at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia.  
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Savannah Desoto, located at 15 East Liberty Street. The meeting is free and open to the public. Members of the public, those affected by the accident, and emergency responders are encouraged to attend and to provide comments prior to the Board’s consideration of the final report.  The meeting is expected to conclude at approximately 9:00 p.m.

On February 7, 2008, large explosions and a fire occurred at the Imperial Sugar refinery northwest of Savannah, Georgia, causing 14 deaths and injuring 38 others, including 14 with serious, life-threatening burns. The explosion was fueled by accumulations of combustible sugar dust throughout the packaging building.

At the meeting CSB staff will present to the Board the results of their investigation into this explosion. The presentation by CSB investigators will include a 3-D computer animation recreating the events that led to the tragedy.  The presentation will be followed by a public comment period prior to a Board vote on the final report.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, please contact Public Affairs Specialist Hillary J. Cohen at (202) 261-3601.

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