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Three Fireworks Manufacturers Are Indicted

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The seven-count indictment charges that employees of Pyro Products, Inc. and its sister company, Next F-X Inc. tampered with explosion scenes in which two people were killed and five others injured. U.S. Attorney Ray Gruender says the defendants are also charged with falsifying safety and training records, illegally storing hazardous materials and mislabelling them for shipping:

"The indictment also alleges that they maintained an unauthorized laboratory at Pyro," Gruender said. "And after each of the three explosions, they dismantled that laboratory and hid it from inspectors."

But defense attorneys claim the charges are unfounded. Defense co-counsel Barry Short says the indictment attempts to tie lesser charges with the fatal explosions though he says past investigations have never found the operators to be responsible for those deaths:

"I think what they've done is they've taken some relatively innocuous offenses and attempted to bootstrap them into something very serious by alleging that there were deaths and explosions," Short said. "And I think that's unfortunate; I think that's unfair."

The three defendants are expected to appear in federal court on Monday.

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