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Home » News » Crime

January 10. 2012 5:02PM

Owner of Colebrook factory that exploded indicted for deaths of workers

COLEBROOK - The owner of the Black Mag plant in Colebrook, where two men were killed and one severely injuried in a 2010 explosion, has been indicted on manslaughter and negligent homicide charges.

Craig Sanborn was indicted by the Coos County Grand Jury in connection with the May 14, 2010, explosion that killed Jesse Kennett, 49, and Donald Kendall, 56. A third employee was injured in an explosion at the plant that once produced gunpowder.

The explosion at Millennium Design Muzzleloaders plant in the Colebrook Industrial Park rocked downtown Colebrook. Coos County Attorney Robert McKeel said the indictments handed down late Friday.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials said they were not aware of the plant before the explosion, but afterwards concluded there were huge safety problems and blamed Sanborn, who denied being at fault.

An OSHA investigation determined that the workers had been required to hand feed powder into operating equipment. Following the investigation, OSHA issued the plant 54 workplace safety and health citations with penalties totaling $1.2 million.

The company initially contested the OSHA penalties, but withdrew its notice of contest and agreed that it violated the OSHA Act. The company has certified that it ceased operation “when the 2010 explosion destroyed the facility and put it out of business,” according to OSHA officials.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanborn, of Maidstone, Vt., the president and primary owner, was barred from ever making explosives again in the future.


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