A Garner, N.C., plant that produced ConAgra Food's Slim Jim snacks was heavily damaged by an explosion and partial roof collapse yesterday, leaving two workers dead, numerous people injured and one person still missing. The explosion was reported at around 11:30 AM on tuesday, causing sections of the roof to collapse. Rescue efforts were slowed by ammonia leaks and a fire that took several hours to extinguish, CNN reports.

There were approximately 280 people in the 500,000-square-foot plant when the explosion occurred, ConAgra reported. Two bodies have been found in the rubble of the plant, and rescue workers were still trying to get them from the plant. Local authorities are working to notify next of kin before releasing the names of these individuals. One plant worker is still unaccounted for. A total of 38 people were taken to area hospitals, and four of them were taken to the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Center with burns covering 40 to 60 percent of their bodies.

ConAgra said it was "working with authorities on the ground to ensure that their employees are getting all of the support that they need," said Stephanie Childs, ConAgra director of corporate communication, according to CNN. "The employees' health is their only real concern at this time."

Gail Ruffin, a ConAgra worker who was in the plant when the explosion happened, told WRAL she heard a boom. "The ceiling start coming down, and we all start running," Ruffin, who wasn't injured, told WRAL. "Everyone was trying to get to the exit door. ... I was just trying to get out, and then we just [saw] people that [were] burned -- blood all over them."

A statement by ConAgra read, in part: "No words can express how saddened we are by these events today," said Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods. "All of our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. ConAgra Foods will provide our people with all of the support they need, and we will continue to work with local authorities to identify the cause of this accident. We are deeply grateful for the work of our local team and the emergency and public safety officials in attending to our employees."

The company is setting up a fund for contributions from ConAgra Foods employees and the local community, and we will continue to provide employee assistance counselors for our employees and their families.

Source: CNN, ConAgra Foods

Norman Brinker, Chili's developer, dies

Norman Brinker, the former chairman of Brinker International and developer of Chili's Grill & Bar, died on Tuesday at the age of 78. He took the Chili's concept, which began as a single restaurant in Dallas, and helped grow it to its present size of 1,700 restaurants in 27 countries.

Brinker grew up in New Mexico and started developing restaurants in the 1960s, according to the Associated Press. He developed the concept for Steak & Ale restaurants before selling it to Pillsbury Co. in the 1970s, and later created Bennigan's while working for Pillsbury's restaurant division. He formed Brinker International in 1983 to grow Chili's. The company currently operates On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, Maggiano's Little Italy and Romano's Macaroni Grill.

A former equestrian, Brinker also competed in the 1952 Olympics.

Source: Associated Press

Sara Lee promotes Executive Vice President, General Counsel

Sara Lee Corp. announced the promotion of Brett Hart, 40, to executive vice president and general counsel for Sara Lee Corp. He will have responsibility for all of the company’s worldwide legal activities.

Hart joined Sara Lee in 2003 as assistant general counsel and was promoted to senior vice president, deputy general counsel and global business practices (GBP) officer in 2005. He has led the company’s GBP and governance activities, including SEC transactions, shareholder services, ERISA/benefits and immigration employment law, and has acted as a liaison for the board of directors and executives. Prior to Sara Lee, Hart was a partner with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. Before that, he served as special assistant to the general counsel at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Jack In The Box thinks small again

Following up on Jack in the Box restaurants’ launch of Mini Sirloin Burgers come Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches – small, but flavorful sandwiches that pack a big punch. Available now, Jack’s new Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches feature a trio of mini Homestyle chicken fillets topped with Frank’s RedHot sauce, ranch sauce and shredded lettuce on toasted mini buns.

"Given the popularity of the Mini Sirloin Burgers, we wanted to offer guests additional ‘mini’ options,” said Teka O’Rourke, director of menu marketing and promotions for Jack in the Box Inc. “And just like our burgers, the Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches are ideal for sharing with friends or as a meal for one.”

The Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches are available now for the suggested price, excluding tax, of $3.89 for three sandwiches at all participating Jack in the Box restaurants.

Source: Jack In The Box Inc.