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Company, owners plead guilty in fatal 2015 railcar explosion

July 14, 2021 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska railcar-cleaning company and its two owners have pleaded guilty to violating environmental and worker safety laws after an explosion killed two employees in 2015.

Adrian LaPour, 44, and Dallas Fouls, 40, were working for Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services inside a tanker car in Omaha on April 14, 2015, when it exploded. A third employee escaped serious injury.

Prosecutors said benzene levels in the tanker car were not tested, and the car was not continuously monitored for explosive levels of gases, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

Steven Braithwaite, president and owner of Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of violating worker safety standards that resulted in death and violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

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His brother, Adam Braithwaite, vice president and a minority owner of the company, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating worker safety standards that resulted in death, two counts of falsification of records and perjury. The company pleaded guilty to 21 counts.

The company did not implement worker safety standards, tried to cover up its actions during a federal inspection and mishandled hazardous wastes removed from rail tanker cars, court documents said.

The Braithwaites are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 25.