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An explosion occurred in Moss Point Monday morning, leaving one dead and three injured. / George Clark

MOSS POINT, Miss. -- One man died and three others were injured in an explosion at the Omega Protein fish processing plant here on Monday morning, according to reports from WLOX-TV in Biloxi.

Moss Point Fire Chief Tommy Posey said the men were repairing a fish oil storage tank when the top blew off.

The employee killed in the explosion was identified by Jackson County Coroner Vicki Broadus as Jerry Lee Taylor II, 25, of Mobile, Alabama, according to the Biloxi Sun-Herald. Taylor was making repairs on top of the tank when it exploded and the other injured workers were on the ground somewhere near the tank, Posey said.

Omega Protein spokesman Ben Landry said the incident occurred about 9:30 a.m. and involved employees of a subcontractor who were working on two tanks.

"We're still getting details on what happened. Our investigative team and the local fire department will be working on this. The plant will be closed for the next two days while we aid in the investigation," he said.

Posey told reporters at the scene that there was no fire after the explosion.

Authorities said the three injured workers were taken to Singing River Hospital where their conditions were not known. Their identities have not been released.

Omega Protein operates a menhaden -- or pogy -- fishing fleet on the Mississippi coast, with a processing plant and adjacent shipyard in Moss Point that employ about 300 people.

The Houston-based company produces fish oil and fish meal for human consumption and for use in aquaculture, agriculture and industrial applications. Omega Protein has 5 manufacturing plants and employs 1,000 people throughout the United States, according to its website.

The Moss Point plant has had some safety issues in the past.

In April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the Moss Point plant $3,341 over violations of sanitation rules and failure to provide proper machine protection

In 2012, an Omega Protein worker was killed in an accident that federal investigators have since said was avoidable. Christopher Hebert, 24, of Moss Point, had worked at the plant for three years. He was killed when he was caught in a rotating screw conveyor.

OSHA initially cited Omega for 25 violations after the fatality. That was reduced to 22 violations and a fine of $50,000 against the non-union plant. Omega was cited for, among other things, failing to make sure machinery was properly locked down when it was being worked on and failing to properly secure floor and wall openings.

In May 2011, three men were killed aboard an Omega Protein fishing boat called the Sandy Point, which collided with a 660-foot container ship in the Gulfport, Mississippi ship channel.

(Contributing: Associated Press, WLOX-TV, Biloxi Sun-Herald)



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Read the original story: Mississippi fish oil plant explosion kills 1, injures 3

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