- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) - Some of the workers idled after an explosion tore through a New Hampshire ball bearing factory earlier this week will be back on the job Thursday.

Investigators said Wednesday the explosion at New Hampshire Ball Bearings was caused by a nitric acid reaction, which is commonly used in industrial processes. They said the on-scene investigation was done late Tuesday and the building turned back over to the company for cleanup and repairs.

In a letter to employees posted on its website, company President Gary Yomantas said workers would be paid the regular wage for time missed since the explosion occurred Monday afternoon.

One employee, Paul Clark, tells The Associated Press he was told to return to work Thursday.

All shifts were canceled Tuesday and Wednesday at the Peterborough plant. The company had said it hoped to resume operations Thursday in select departments, including component fabrication, component fabrication support groups, and office personnel.

The blast shattered glass, dislodged ceiling tiles and damaged walls.

The plant makes parts for the aerospace industry and employs 700 people. The company said about 450 people would have been working at the time of the blast. No one was in close proximity to it.

Investigators, including members of the state Fire Marshal’s Office, federal Office of Safety and Health Administration, and state Department of Environmental Services, will continue to conduct interviews and analyze documents, samples, and other evidence over the next several weeks. A final report is also several weeks away.

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