Source Pravda.Ru

Total Executives Held Over Grande Paroisse Blast

Nine executives of TotalFinaElf's chemical factory that exploded in Toulouse in September were held in custody yesterday as part of an investigation into the blast, the French daily Les Echos reported.

Serge Biechlin, the director of the Grande Paroisse plant, and eight managers in charge of maintenance and supplies of the cyanide unit are being questioned about the explosion, the French daily said.

Four employees were placed under investigation Tuesday as part of the probe, but were later released from custody, Les Echos said. The September 21st explosion at the AZF fertilizer factory killed 30 people and blew out windows throughout the city, leaving thousands of people homeless.

A government report last week showed that the accident was caused by a chemical reaction between chlorine and aluminum nitrate. Grand Paroisse said that the conclusions of the report were “premature” and did not show “technical evidence.”

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