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After an investigation into an explosion and fire in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, investigators found two utility contractors – Bear Communications LLC of Lawrence, Kansas, and subcontractor V C Tech Inc. of Ypsilanti, Michigan – failed to establish the location of underground utilities prior to beginning excavation work, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

An explosion and fire occurred in July 2018 when an underground gas line was struck by excavating equipment.

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A volunteer firefighter responding to the incident was fatally injured.

Investigators found neither contractor contacted the underground utility owners or the local one-call system.

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As a result, both companies ended up issued a serious safety violation, and face penalties of $12,934 each – the maximum penalty allowed.

“Excavators are required to train their employees on procedures for determining the location of underground utilities, and contact the utility company before opening an excavation” said OSHA Madison Office Area Director Chad Greenwood.

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