Report: Authorities find no wrongdoing so far in Juárez candy factory blast

Rio Grande Digital

State and city investigators in Juárez say they have found no evidence so far of negligence or wrongdoing in the deadly Oct. 24 explosion at the Sunrise Confections plant.

EARLIER:

Eight of the plant’s employees have died of injuries — mainly burns — they suffered in the explosion, according to Juárez media reports. Dozens of others were injured.

The newspaper El Diario de Juarez reports that investigators from the state Attorney General’s office and Juárez city Office of Civil Protection have ruled out  improperly installed gas-fired equipment, build-up of gas in a drainage pipe, improper storage of solvents and other suspected causes. Investigators also ruled out a boiler explosion because the boiler was undamaged.

The investigation is ongoing.

Also known locally as Blueberry, the plant is one of two Juárez factories that manufacture popular candies for large U.S. retailers, including the Real Annoying Orange Treats and Plants vs. Zombies gummies pitched during the Halloween season.

The plant, also known as Blueberry, is owned by Mount Franklin Foods Llc of El Paso. Growing out of the historic border pecan industry, Mount Franklin Foods also runs a nut processing plant and corporate distribution center in El Paso.

In the aftermath of the disaster, local media reported that Blueberry experienced two smaller fires, in 2005 and 2007 respectively, as well as a worker fatality in 2006. The manufacturer also had issues with authorities over wastewater discharges, air emissions and tax payments, according to El Diario.

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