Dominican officials accuse plastics company of causing explosion that killed 31 people

Article by Kerry Hebden

AUTHORITIES in the Dominican Republic are pursuing a criminal case against a plastics company following a powerful explosion that killed at least 31 people. Officials have said it could take months to identify some of the victims. 

According to a report by The Associated Press, police and public prosecutors said the deadly blast occurred in a commercial centre in San Cristobal, a city just west of the capital of Santo Domingo, at a business called Vidal Plast. The company recycles, buys, and sells plastic materials. 

Victims of the explosion on 14 August included a four-month-old baby, and a staff member who was working at a nearby bank. At least 59 people were also injured – the majority of whom remain hospitalised – as fire ripped through neighbouring property, causing buildings to collapse. 

The blast, which was initially thought to have occurred at a bakery, took three days to extinguish, AP notes. 

Very little has been released about Vidal Plast, and the owners could not be reached for comment. However, the Dominican authorities have evidence that a fire broke out at the business in March caused by a spark and a chemical substance, and that the company did not take any measures “despite knowing the high risk of its operations”, AP said. 

In a statement citing prosecutor Fadulia Rosa Rubio, the authorities said that “the public ministry has evidence that compromises the criminal responsibility of those responsible who, with their actions, caused the death of dozens of people and caused millions in losses”. 

The ministry also said it was investigating several people but did not identify them.

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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