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Witnesses Detail Moments Before Verso Explosion

Witnesses Detail Moments Before Verso Explosion Click to Enlarge Photo: Brad Veenstra

Jul 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

SARTELL, MN (KNSI) - Just hours before the Memorial Day explosion and fire at the Verso Paper mill in Sartell, the plant had been shut down to repair a leaking water pipe, and it was just being brought back online when the explosion happened. 

The information, according to the St. Cloud Times, came in statements that nine employees gave to police officers investigating the explosion and fire that killed one worker and injured four.

The leaking pipe was discovered May 28th, and caused the plant to shut down for repairs. The plant re-started just before 11 a.m. that morning, about 20 minutes prior to the explosion. The man killed in the blast--Jon Maus--was running from a compressor room when the explosion occurred. And just prior to the explosion, several employees reported seeing a smoky haze and smelled an odor of either gas or an electrical fire.

The State Fire Marshal's Office has been investigating, but has not released the cause of the explosion and fire yet.

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