Tue., February 7, 2012 11:16pm (EST)

Imperial Sugar Blast Remembered
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 2 years ago

PORT WENTWORTH, Ga.  —  
The mangled remains of the Imperial Sugar refinery shortly after the blast that killed 14 workers.  (photo US Chemical Safety Board)
The mangled remains of the Imperial Sugar refinery shortly after the blast that killed 14 workers. (photo US Chemical Safety Board)
Friends and family of 14 workers killed at the Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah four years ago say, they'll never forget their loved ones.

A memorial last night honored victims and survivors of a deadly blast.

The dust explosion that ripped through the plant is no fading memory to those who sang hymns at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, steps from the refinery's gates in Port Wentworth.

Four years ago, people at the church lifted intravenous bags for the wounded.

Last night, they lifted spirits still shaken.

Carrie Butler lost her son John Butler and her nephew Alphonso Fields.

"It has taken me this long to say thank you to so many that helped us," Butler said.

First responders remembered the chaotic scene.

Ministers offered prayers, lit candles and read names.

About a hundred people attended the service, made harder for some by the passing of time.

Richard Frazier lost his son Malcolm Frazier and said, visiting his son's grave each week is harder without his wife.

"His momma passed since then, too," Frazier said. "And it's just been hard for me. It's hard to talk about it, her going. I'm left by myself."

Frazier said his son was burned over 90% of his body and battled for months in at a burn center in Augusta before passing away.

"He will never be forgotten in my heart," Frazier says. "As long as I live, I never will forget him. I'll never forget him. I go to the site every week."

In the blast's wake, federal investigations showed Imperial Sugar was warned about dangerous conditions but did little to fix them.

Lawsuits have been filed and settled but some remain, as does the possibility of criminal charges.

Still, Congress and federal worker's safety officials have proposed no comprehensive rules to address combustible dust in workplaces.