- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

JESSUP, Pa. (AP) - The former owner of a plastic barrel recycling plant in northeastern Pennsylvania has been charged with mishandling chemicals that destroyed the business in an explosion two years ago.

Fifty-two-year-old Eric Spatt was charged Thursday with illegally storing hazardous waste for more than a dozen years, which authorities say led to the fire at Scranton Cooperage in Jessup.

Investigators say a volatile chemical ignited in June 2014 when an employee punctured a steel drum with a forklift. The blaze consumed the building and rekindled several times in the days after the fire.

Defense attorney William Peters tells The (Scranton) Times-Tribune that his client intends to contest the charges.

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