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Pa. company owner faces criminal charges

June 24, 2016 Updated 6/24/2016

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Pa. company owner faces criminal charges

The former owner of a Pennsylvania company that reconditioned and recycled industrial containers faces criminal charges following a fire last year at his site.

Eric Spatt is former owner of Scranton Cooperage Inc. of Jessup, Pa., and is accused of improperly storing hazardous waste at the business, according to the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Karen Kane.

Spatt allegedly allowed the continued storage of waste sodium chlorite at the business for approximately 13 years. A June 2014 fire, described by the state as “massive,” happened after one of the drums was punctured by a forklift.

It took more than 200 firefighters to battle the blaze, which caused an evacuation of the nearby area due to exploding drums, the state said.

Spatt is charged with three counts of failure to manage hazardous waste and unlawful conduct. He also is charged with one count of causing catastrophe, risking catastrophe, failure to prevent catastrophe and recklessly endangering another person, the state said.

The former owner was told by the state in 2000 that sodium chlorite was a potentially hazardous substance, and continued to allow the material to be stored at his business, the state said.

Scranton Cooperage, according to its website, reconditioned and recycled empty steel, plastic and fiber drums. The company also handles intermediate bulk containers, including plastic versions of those units.

The business reopened with a new name, American Container Processors, and has a new owner, according to local media.

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