OSHA cites utility contractors for 'serious' safety violations in 2018 Wisconsin explosion that killed firefighter

  • Source: Wisconsin State Journal
  • Published: 01/11/2019 12:00 AM

Two utility contractors faulted for contributing to an explosion that leveled part of downtown Sun Prairie and killed a volunteer firefighter in July have been fined for “serious” violations by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In citation letters dated Jan. 4, OSHA said its inspectors found that Kansas-based Bear Communications and Michigan-based VC Tech failed to call a diggers hotline or utility owners to locate underground lines before starting work. The companies were each fined $12,934 for the “serious” violation, the maximum penalty allowed, said Scott Allen, an OSHA spokesman. Authorities said last month that no crime was committed following an investigation, but found that miscommunication between utility contractors and subcontractors resulted in a gas line being improperly marked before the July 10 blast. Cory Barr, a captain with the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department and owner of a tavern destroyed in the blast, was killed in the explosion. Two other volunteer firefighters were injured.


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