OSHA fines Harrisburg company in wake of massive fire

A Harrisburg business has been fined $14,000 for exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards at an automotive recycling facility that was the site of a massive fire earlier this year.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it found five serious safety violations at Hebron, Inc. during an investigation that started after the May 12 fire at the company’s warehouse in the 700 block of South Cameron Street.

OSHA investigators said Hebron stored reclaimed gasoline in unapproved containers, including a 55-gallon drum that had only a partial cover.

Neither the 55-gallon drum or three 275-gallon heating fuel tanks used for storing gasoline were grounded to prevent a static discharge, and none had a drainage system or other means to control spills.

Hebron also created an explosion risk by using cutting tools on emptied gasoline tanks, and it failed to use wiring approved for use in potentially-explosive environments.

Kevin Kilp, director of the OSHA Area Office in Harrisburg, said the May 12 fire could have been prevented if Hebron had followed standards for the safe handling of flammable liquids.

The company has 15 business days to respond. It can either comply with the penalties, request a hearing, or contest the findings.

Hebron owner Kathleen Alzghier previously said the fire started when an electrical spark hit dry sand that had been poured over a gasoline spill.

The fire damaged Hebron and four other businesses in the Paxton Business Center, resulting in losses that totaled about $4 million.

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