Local Company Fined in Hotel Blast

14 workers hurt, 3 severly burned in May blast

A San Diego company was issued a stiff fine by state officials for violations stemming from an explosion at the Bayfront Hilton in May.

Sherwood Mechanical, Inc. -- plumbing and heating contractor -- was issued the fine on Tuesday by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.  The report lists four fines -- all serious -- for a grand total of $67,500 in penalties.

“It's a hefty fine,” CalOSHA spokeswoman Erika Monterroza told the San Diego Union-Tribune of the penalties levied against Sherwood Mechanical. “All businesses are required to have procedures set up to prevent illness and injury.”

Fourteen construction workers were hurt, including three who suffered second and third-degree burns.  The blast was sparked by a gas leak that led to an accumulation of natural gas in a fifth floor utility room that was ignited by an unknown source, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque.   

Six additional subcontractors were penalized for less serious construction violations, the paper reported.  The penalties are due in 15 days and the company has the right to appeal.

The hotel is due to open on Dec. 3.

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