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Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 1:09pm

No Criminal Charges In Blast Case

Updated: 1 year ago.
The Imperial Sugar refinery exploded in 2008, killing 14 people. Five years later, a prosecutor says that he won't seek criminal charges in the case. (photo Orlando Montoya)

A federal prosecutor says the Justice Department won't seek criminal charges against employees of Imperial Sugar.

The decision comes five years after an explosion killed 14 workers at the company's refinery near Savannah.

US Attorney Edward Tarver says a lengthy review found "insufficient evidence of intentional disregard" to safety regulations to prosecute anyone in the blast.

Investigators determined the explosion was caused by sugar dust that ignited like gun power.

Savannah lawyer Mark Tate represents clients suing the company and says while the decision could be unsatisfying for many in the community, he also understands the prosecutor's position.

"There had to be something intentional or conduct so wanton or willful as to raise the presumption beyond a reasonable doubt," Tate says. "And that's totally a different standard from the civil standard applies in the lawsuits that we have."

Three years ago, Imperial Sugar agreed to pay more than $6 million in fines for safety violations.

Many civil suits also have been settled for undisclosed sums.

A British firm bought the company last June.

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Associated Press contributed to this report.