State Government

Castleton slate quarry explosives license revoked

Camara slate quarry, stillshot from 2016 YouTube video

The Vermont Department of Public Safety has revoked the explosives license issued to the proprietor of a Castleton slate quarry where a blasting operation this summer propelled rocks onto surrounding properties.

The blasting operation occurred July 16. According to an investigation by the Department of Public Safety, including the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Vermont State Police, assisted by the Castleton Police Department, residents living near the quarry on Blissville Road were not given adequate notice in advance of the operation, no blasting mat was used, and the explosion ejected rocks from the quarry onto multiple adjacent properties, damaging one home and posing a risk to public safety.

Under Vermont law, the commissioner of Public Safety may issue an explosives license to applicants who meet certain qualifications, including demonstrated competence in the handling and use of explosives. Based on the July 16 blasting operation, Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling determined that the quarry’s proprietor, David Camara Jr., does not meet the standard to handle and use explosives safely, and accordingly, the commissioner revoked Camara’s explosives license.

The decision was communicated to Camara by letter Oct. 29. According to the letter, the applicant may pursue a pathway to future licensure if he completes agreed-upon training and examination to demonstrate competency. The statute also provides the applicant 15 days to appeal the decision.