After deadly warehouse collapse, feds weigh safety violations

Safety experts say deadly infractions may have contributed to a warehouse storage collapse in Illinois this week, making five people dead. The investigation will be led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the…

After deadly warehouse collapse, feds weigh safety violations

Safety experts say deadly infractions may have contributed to a warehouse storage collapse in Illinois this week, making five people dead. The investigation will be led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency informed the Associated Press Tuesday. Federal officials said they were in the process of interviewing workers, managers and other witnesses.

According to an initial review, OSHA said violations were found at eight points at the distribution center in Tracy, Ill., where 3,500-square-foot electrical storage containers fell 40 feet onto a 19,000-square-foot warehouse, trapping 11 workers and killing five of them. Several others were rescued.

The warehouse’s owner, Virginia-based Downers Grove-based Hilcorp Energy Co., said it was cooperating with the investigation.

“This is obviously very tragic and my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims,” Anthony West, Hilcorp’s vice president of commercial operations, said in a statement.

The fall was apparently caused by a failure of insulation in a wall system above the facility’s electrical storage units. Based on interviews with survivors, investigators said certain workers removed the insulation without locking the doors.

The deaths were the second disaster at a Hilcorp-owned site in Illinois this year. A worker died in a gas-related accident in Decatur, Ill., in March.

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