SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 10, 2012

Civil action may decide fate of $100K

Money is left over from blast settlement

(Continued)

This group of insurers received the lion’s share of the settlement, $5,525,000. The trust and others received $1,475,000. It is estimated that residents and businesses that suffered damage, on average, each paid $40,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

Attorneys fees added up to just under $429,000, leaving a little more than $1 million to be distributed for property damage, physical injury and emotional distress. The average payout was reported to be about $2,700.

The remaining 10 percent of the $1 million, approximately $100,000, was earmarked for the Danversport Trust.

The blast leveled the chemical plant at 126R Water St. that contained ink-maker CAI Inc. and coatings business Arnel Co. Inc. and caused widespread damage to 250 homes and businesses. More than 20 homes and six businesses were destroyed or rebuilt, according to a report by the state fire marshal’s office. Many boats in a nearby marina were also destroyed.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigators pegged the probable cause to a plant worker who inadvertently left a steam valve on a mix tank open overnight, causing a volatile mixture of chemicals to boil, fill the plant with flammable vapors, find an ignition source and explode.

Georgetown-based CAI denied federal investigators findings and undertook its own scientific study. The company even sued the gas company in the fall of 2009. However, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the two companies for serious violations of workplace health and safety standards. Last year, CAI settled with the federal government for $1.3 million, with the money going to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay for a portion of the cleanup costs.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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