Feds probe earlier sugar blast

Federal lawyers are looking into a 1998 explosion that maimed a worker at the Imperial Sugar Co. refinery in Sugar Land, Texas.

The probe stems from a legal wrangle over the Feb. 7, 2008, explosions and fire at the company's refinery near

Savannah.

Investigators have said that disaster - which killed 14 people and hurt many others who were treated at Augusta's Joseph M. Still Burn Center - and the Sugar Land mishap were fueled by big buildups of sugar dust.

Now, lawyers for the Department of Labor's Office of the Solicitor are gathering information concerning the Texas explosion.

They also are pressing the government's case for $8.8 million in fines for more than 200 alleged safety violations at Port Wentworth and the company plant in Gramercy, La.

Imperial is appealing.

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