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Crews recovering bodies from NC Slim Jim plantBy ALYSIA PATTERSON â€" Jun 10, 2009GARNER, N.C.

(AP) — Recovery teams in bulky hazard suits worked cautiously in the unstable wreckage of a Slim Jim snack factory Wednesday to retrieve two remaining bodies a day after an explosion ripped through the plant.Crews recovered the body of one victim, a woman whose family said she had worked at the plant for 15 years, early Wednesday after overnight rain and storms temporarily halted work because of worries that more of the plant could collapse.The crews were entering the ConAgra Foods Inc.

plant in Garner through ground level wreckage and were also looking for a way in through a gaping hole in the roof to get closer to one of the bodies.The unexplained blast Tuesday morning blew down a wall and collapsed part of the roof of the 500,000-square-foot building while 300 people were at work.

Officials said 38 employees were injured, including four with critical burns, and three firefighters were treated for inhaling ammonia fumes and released.Police said recovery crews located two bodies Tuesday and found the remains of a missing worker Wednesday.

Authorities do not believe anyone else died, Garner Police Sgt.

Chris Clayton said.Search and rescue chief Frank McLaurin said two of the bodies were found near each other while the third body was found several hundred feet away.Hazmat suits were required because ammonia vapor, which had been tamped down by the rain, was leaking up through the debris, McLaurin said.

But the gas wasn't a danger outside of the building.

Some roads in the area were still closed."It's not going to be a fast process," McLaurin said.

"Cranes are coming in and we will start picking the building apart.

Thousands and thousands of tons of debris have got to come out of the way to gain access."The only victim recovered so far was Barbara McLean Spears, 43, of Dunn.

Her brother, 38-year-old Anthony McLean, told The Associated Press that Spears worked at the plant for about 15 years, most recently in the cutting department."I knew she was a victim when I went to ConAgra and she didn't get off the bus," McLean said.

"I knew something was wrong with my sister at that time.

No one could tell us what hospital she was in or anything."Clayton said Spears' remains were brought out early Wednesday, not the night before as previously reported by other rescue officials.ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs said a fund was being set up to help families of victims and that employees would continue to be paid.

She said the company will work with the Spears family to provide any support possible."We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and her loved ones," Childs said.Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said families were "somewhat in limbo.

They're in a ton of uncertainty."Authorities could not say where in the plant the blast happened or what caused it, but some workers who escaped said chaos and panic followed.Janelle Lynch, who has worked there for eight years, said she saw flames and ran.

She planned to leave through the cutting department, but the roof started to collapse, so she went in the other direction and escaped through a warehouse."I saw a fire and things just started exploding," she said.About 900 people cover four shifts at the plant, one of ConAgra's largest, company spokesman Dave Jackson said.

The ammonia is used to refrigerate meat before it's turned into Slim Jims.The company, which has 25,000 employees worldwide, makes brands like Chef Boyardee, Hunt's tomato sauce, ACT II popcorn and Hebrew National hot dogs.The plant was last inspected by the North Carolina Department of Labor for workplace safety last July and no violations were found, department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry said.

The plant had violations in previous years, including a fine in 2007 for problems with eye and face protection equipment.(This version CORRECTS corrects that first body recovered early Wednesday, based on new police information.)Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.

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