Company Charged In Death Security Guard
WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) _ A metal-recovery company was charged with negligent homicide and reckless endangerment today in the death of a security guard and injuries to four other guards who were overcome by carbon monoxide, officials said.
State’s Attorney John Connelly said the charges resulted from a seven-week investigation of PGP Industries Inc. No individual officers of the company were named in the arrest warrant.
″The criminal conduct in this case is the result of the combined misfeasance, nonfeasance or malfeasance of several individuals acting on behalf of the corporation. Because of the division of responsiblity among several individuals in regard to this specific incident, it makes it difficult to fix liability on one individual,″ Connelly said.
Five employees of United Security Inc. were overcome by carbon monoxide on Sept. 28, according to Waterbury health officials. One guard, Ralph Esposito, 31, of Beacon Falls, was killed by the gas, according to autopsy reports.
Carbon monoxide was produced during a charcoal burning process in the PGP plant. The company’s ventilating system shut down during a power outage caused by Hurricane Gloria. Authorities said workers at the company failed to restart the ventilation system after electric power was restored.
″It was determined that PGP, we felt, had criminal responsibility,″ Connelly said in explaining the warrants. ″We presented facts to a judge who signed, found probable cause, and the summons was issued.″
Negligent homicide is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for reckless endangerment, also a misdemeanor, is six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.