Bodies Found In Slim Jim Plant Wreckage

GARNER, North Carolina (AP) -- Search teams recovered three bodies from the unstable wreckage of a snack factory Wednesday, one day after an explosion knocked down parts of the roof and an exterior wall.

Crews brought out two bodies in the afternoon after retrieving the remains of 43-year-old woman before dawn. Garner Police Sgt. Chris Clayton said the two other victims were a 67-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man.

Workers will try to remove parts of an exterior wall that had fallen onto vehicles nearby and continue searching the building for possible victims. But authorities only knew of the three employees who were missing after the Tuesday explosion.

"They will continue to search through the rest of the building, and once that building search is complete, then the search and rescue and recovery efforts will come to a conclusion," Clayton said. "We feel comfortable ... that the people that were at the plant have now been accounted for."

The unexplained explosion ripped through the 500,000-square-foot (46,451-square-meter) ConAgra Foods Inc. plant in Garner while 300 people were at work. Officials said 38 employees were injured, including four with critical burns, and three firefighters were treated for inhaling ammonia fumes and released.

Search and rescue chief Frank McLaurin said two of the bodies were found near each other while the third body was found several hundred feet away.

The company, which has 25,000 employees worldwide, makes brands like Chef Boyardee, Hunt's tomato sauce, ACT II popcorn and Hebrew National hot dogs.

The plant was last inspected by the North Carolina Department of Labor for workplace safety last July and no violations were found, department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry said. The plant had violations in previous years, including a fine in 2007 for problems with eye and face protection equipment.

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