Verso's Sartell paper mill fire caused by overheated air compressor, says Minnesota fire marshal; damage estimated at US$50M, Verso announces earlier in month that mill will not reopen

SARTELL, Minnesota , August 13, 2012 () – The Minnesota state fire marshal's office says an overheated air compressor caused a deadly Memorial Day explosion and fire at a Sartell paper mill.

According to a report released Monday, the overheated compressor ignited oil vapors in an air receiving tank at the Verso Paper Corp. mill.

The 27-page report says the cooling water supply to the compressor was severely reduced in the hour before the explosion, and that two other compressors had already shut off because of overheating.

Damage from the explosion is estimated at $50 million. The St. Cloud Times ( reports the case is closed.

The blast killed one employee and injured a couple of others. Verso announced earlier this month that the mill will not reopen.

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