AP NEWS

Contractor agrees to pay $120K in explosion cleanup costs

March 18, 2020 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A contractor in Massachusetts that was hired to demolish a shed that exploded and released hazardous fumes in 2017 has agreed to reimburse the state $120,000 toward cleanup costs, according to the attorney general’s office.

The explosion and fire at a Shrewsbury home caused workers and a neighbor to develop respiratory problems, according to a Tuesday statement from the office of Attorney General Maura Healey.

Healey’s office filed a lawsuit in April against P&M Asphalt Services Inc. and the property’s owners, Edgar Muntz Jr. and a realty trust Muntz owns. The attorney general alleged the defendants violated the state’s hazardous materials laws because the shed was filled with hundreds of containers of dangerous chemicals.

The shed reportedly caught fire and released hazardous chemicals into the air and soil. None of the defendants reported the explosion or contamination to state officials, according to the lawsuit.

At the time of the lawsuit, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection said the cleanup cost about $385,000. The attorney general’s office is pursuing claims against Muntz and his realty trust for remaining costs.