NH gunpowder plant owner gets 10-20 years in blast

by The Associated Press
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(Map showing location of deadly 2010 blast. AP File Graphic)

(Map showing location of deadly 2010 blast. AP File Graphic)

LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) – A gunpowder plant owner has been sentenced to at least a decade in prison over a 2010 explosion that killed two workers in New Hampshire.

Craig Sanborn was convicted last month of manslaughter and was sentenced Wednesday to 10 to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Sanborn was reckless in manufacturing, testing and storing the black powder and failed to adequately train workers at the Black Mag plant in Colebrook, where an explosion killed 56-year-old Donald Kendall, of Colebrook, and 49-year-old Jesse Kennett, of Stratford.

Sanborn’s lawyer, Mark Sisti, has said his client was out of town and noted the explosion could have been caused by various scenarios, including employee error or a stray piece of metal creating friction inside a machine. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the sentence.

Sanborn, of Maidstone, Vt., was denied an appeal bond and was taken into custody after his sentencing.

David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said in a statement that the sentence should drive home to employers that “worker safety can never be sacrificed for the benefit of production, and workers lives are not – and must never be – considered part of the cost of doing business.”

OSHA’s investigation of the plant explosion resulted in 16 willful and over 30 serious safety violation citations, along with a $1.2 million penalty to Black Mag.

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