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Imperial Food Products

ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1991, 25 workers at the Imperial Food Products chicken processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina were killed in an explosion and fire. A rupture of a hydraulic line near a deep fryer caused the explosion. However, through the investigation of the explosion, it was determined that the employees died because the fire doors were locked and they were unable to escape. All but one of the deaths were caused by smoke inhalation, which would have been prevented if the employees were able to escape. Many of the employees escaped the smoke by retreating to a large freezer, but they were unable to fully close it to keep out the toxic smoke and subsequently died. The employees had time to reach the ...

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