Orange County Plastic Company to Pay $1.6 Million Settlement Over 2009 Explosion That Killed 2

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Nearly a decade after two employees were killed in an explosion at an Orange County factory, the plastics manufacturing company where they worked has agreed to a $1.6-million settlement to put an end to a long-running civil lawsuit, the district attorney’s office announced Thursday.

The owners of Solus Industrial Innovations will pay $1.5 million in penalties and $100,000 in restitution to the families of the men who were killed when a water heater exploded at the plant in Rancho Santa Margarita in March 2009. The late-night blast caused the water heater to shoot through the roof of the facility and sent chunks of concrete flying into the air.

Killed were Isidro Echeverria, 34, of Oceanside and Jose Jimenez, 51, of Garden Grove. Two other men were treated for minor injuries.

Prosecutors said the company intentionally discarded a commercial boiler to avoid the cost and permitting requirements of reinstalling it when they relocated from Pennsylvania to Orange County in 2007, and instead purchased a $500 residential water heater from Lowe’s and used it to melt plastic, officials said.

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