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Two Killed in Florida Defense Plant Fire

November 15, 1996

PERRY, Fla. (AP) _ An explosion at a defense plant that makes ammunition killed two workers, the second fire fatal in a year at Martin Electronics.

The flash fire erupted late Thursday in a small building where explosive chemical compounds are sifted, a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal’s office said today.

``They were involved in unloading materials that had already been sifted and were reloading the next batch when the explosion occurred,″ said the spokeswoman, Wendy Diehl. The fire appeared to be accidental, she said.

The dead were identified as Carl E. Fews Jr., 22, and Janice Lou Outland, 55, both from this small town about 50 miles southeast of Tallahassee. They were the only people in the building at the time, according to John Peterson, director of administration.

Martin Electronics is a defense contractor that manufactures ordnance and pyrotechnics. It employs some 175 to 200 people. Property damage has been estimated at $20,000.

In November 1995, a fire in another building at the plant killed two people and left a third seriously burned.

The operations involved in Thursday’s explosion was shut down today but other parts of the plant were running, Peterson said.

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