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Protective barrier maker enters body armor business
by Richard Tomkins
Charleston, S.C. (UPI) Oct 1, 2014

'Several feared dead' in blast at Bulgarian explosives plant
Sofia (AFP) Oct 01, 2014 - Several people were feared killed in a blast at an explosives factory in northwestern Bulgaria on Wednesday, local media and officials said.

At least 10 people died in the explosion, according to public radio and the BGNES news agency.

The secretary general of the interior ministry, Svetlozar Lazarov, told local radio "to expect casualties" but did not give precise figures.

Fifteen workers were believed to have been on site at the time of the explosion at the plant near the village of Gorni Lom, in the Vidin region. The two factory owners were also there, Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov said.

Rescue workers had not yet arrived at the scene, he added.

At least three employees were injured in the incident, according to the regional hospital of Montana, located some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the capital Sofia.

The privately-owned plant carries out contracts for the Bulgarian army, destroying stockpiles of obsolete munitions.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known but the interior ministry has criticised the factory's "poor discipline", after six people were injured in explosions in 2007 and 2010.

The U.S. subsidiary of British barrier-maker Hesco has entered the body armor business with the acquisition of Reed Composite Solutions.

Reed Composite Solutions, headquartered in Washington State, is a specialist manufacturer of ballistic-resistant body armor and other bullet-resistant products and will now do business as Hesco Armor LLC.

"The Reed business seamlessly fits into the Hesco vision to defend and protect both our heroes and civilian populations and we are excited to be a key part of the development of the Hesco brand in the future," said RCS President Ryan Reed.

Hesco Bastion Inc., provided no details on the transaction to acquire Reed Composite Solutions, which manufactures lightweight ballistic resistant plates for body armor used by law enforcement organizations, including used by the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State.

"We owe our freedom, everyday, to military and law enforcement personnel," said Stephanie Victory, chief executive of Hesco Bastion Inc. "Hesco can now go further in our mission to protect the protectors and keep the country safe by proudly offering the men and women of America another trusted HESCO protection product."

Hesco Bastion's parent company manufactures protective barriers, which are used by U.S. and allied forces on deployment in Afghanistan.


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