AUGUSTA - The company at the center of a deadly liquid Nitrogen leak might be facing even more problems.
The chemical leak at the Augusta sperm bank, Xytex, killed a sheriff's deputy last month. 11Alive's Faith Abubey has uncovered additional details that make the case even more heartbreaking.
According to the city of Augusta, the building where the deadly chemical leak happened wasn't cleared for safety codes before the company started using it -- which leaves you wondering if this tragic incident could have been avoided in the first place.
Almost two months after a liquid nitrogen leak killed Sergeant Greg Meagher, several investigations continue into the deadly liquid nitrogen leak at the Xytex headquarters in Augusta.
But 11Alive News has learned new details that could spell problems for the sperm bank. State officials confirm there were signs of a chemical problem earlier in the day on February 5 before the leak that killed Sgt. Meagher.
They said the equipment's safety alert system was sending messages prior to the burglar alarm call that sent deputies to the scene. In another detail, 11Alive News was able to confirm that the Xytex building was never cleared by city officials for occupancy.
The city of Augusta has a two-step process which allows businesses to operate in a building.
The fire department first inspects the building for fire safety issues. If approved, the city's building office takes over. From there, an inspector reviews the property, based on local building codes. It is when both the fire and planning board sign off on the safety of a building that a certificate of occupancy is issued.
In Xytex's case, the city says the company had not yet received that occupancy certificate, even though tax records indicate the company bought the building in 1985, and recently added to the building in 2016.
This is just the latest case that has shocked the Richmond County community.
In February, 11Aive News had confirmed that neither Xytex nor the company which had installed the liquid nitrogen tank had taken out an inspection permit as required before installation.
Both companies were issued citations, and the tanks were removed.
Now, the state's fire marshall's office no longer believes it was the tanks that caused the deadly incident.
We are told it was most likely the system itself which failed.
An equipment the state fire marshal's office says has no regulatory oversight -- at least one of the investigations into the incident should wrap up by next week.
11Alive News reached out to Xytex on Wednesday, but we have not received a response.
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