Verso Paper fined for safety violations leading up to explosion

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The Verso Paper Corporation is being fined nearly $40,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety violations that led to a deadly explosion in May.

The Associated Press reports the state fire marshal's investigation found an overheated compressor that caused the explosion and fire. Employees reportedly shut down a well used to cool the plant's compressors on the day of the accident.

Oil inside the compressor reached a temperature of 308 degrees, the St. Cloud Times says. Normal operating temperature for compressor oil is about 150 degrees.

Fifty-year-old Jon Maus of Albany, Minn., was killed and four others were injured.

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In documents obtained by the St. Cloud Times, employees at the Verso Paper plant in Sartell describe to police how plant operations were halted in May for repairs, and that the plant was just being brought online again when an explosion and fire ripped through the facility, killing one and injuring four.

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