OSHA investigating Eufaula explosion

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 5/08/2013 6:48 pm Published: 5/08/2013 5:12 pm

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is investigating an explosion at a sandblasting plant in Eufaula.

FOX23's Ian Silver says one thing being looked at is whether the business was operating legally.

Businessowner Michael Ford's lawyer, Ken Dominic, told FOX23 his client had no reason to believe he was doing anything wrong. Mayor Selina Dornan told FOX23 the business was zoned commercial, not industrial, so they should not have been operating where they were in the first place.

Dornan was unavailable to talk on camera Wednesday, but on Tuesday she told FOX23this: "We'd had some complaints, and we did contact them to let them know that. So, they were contacted and asked to cease and desist doing industrial work in this area. And that was back…a month or two ago."

On Wednesday, Ford's lawyer said that was not the case.

"My client indicated to me that he didn't receive any documents to his knowledge that notified him that he was operating in any way in violation of any city ordinance or code," the lawyer said.

FOX23 went to city hall to request the cease and desist letter, but were told it would likely be Thursday before our public records request could be fulfilled.

FOX23 did find out Ford Sandblasting had been operating for years on a property a few hundred yards away, until early this year when it leased this site to have more space.

Ken Dominic agrees that's part of the problem. "As far as he knew he was operating in the proper location, in the proper zone and doing the things he was supposed to do," Dominic said.

Dominic did tell us a person who lived next door had an attorney file a cease-and-desist complaint because of noise, but that it didn't come from the city.

Dominic says his client is focused on helping OSHA with the investigation and praying for the men who were injured.
Ford's attorney and Mayor Dornan told FOX23 they are working to straighten things out on the zoning issue.

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