Investigators release cause of fire at Sartell paper plant

9:37 PM, Aug 13, 2012   |    comments
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SARTELL, Minn. - Investigators say an overheated compressor is to blame for a fire and explosion that killed one and injured five others in May at the Verso paper mill in Sartell.

The investigation into the incident, which led to a recent decision to close the plant permanently, showed that a severe reduction in cooling water flowing to the compressors contributed the overheating.

Plant officials said earlier this month that the plant will not re-open for business because the cost to repair the plant is too high.

Verso officials said despite the great efforts of the employees, coming back from a setback this size was too difficult.

The plant explosion and fire on May 28 killed one employee, Jon Maus, and injured five others.

The cost to repair the plant was estimated to be in the millions.

Sartell city administrator Patti Gartland called the news that the plant would not be rebuilt "a new tragedy".

Verso employees have not worked since the fire.

The company has vowed to work with state officials, who have come forward saying that they are determined to find a replacement for Verso in Sartell and to get people back to work.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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