GARNER, NC - James "Slim Jim" Mumford is missing and two others are dead following a massive explosion at the Mechanically Separated Jerky Treats factory in North Carolina Tuesday morning.
Mumford had already eaten more than one-hundred of the company's most popular snack, Beef Snaps. "I don't know where he puts 'em," said Jack Tupp, a co-worker and friend of Mumford. "He must eat nearly a hunnert 'o' them suckers ever single day, more some days. They pro'bly won't even have to use no embalmin' fluid in the poor guy when this is over with."
Experts believe the lactic acid starter cultures contained in each snack, while relatively harmless in small doses, incrementally accrued in Mumford, throwing off the balance of bacteria in his digestive system, causing the explosive outburst.
What happened next, however, was truly tragic.
A co-worker slipped and fell in a bit of hydrolyzed corn gluten, dropping a glass of water on an electrical cord, which caused a short. The resulting spark ignited Mumford's noxious expulsion, and the resulting blast was sufficient to cause several sections of the roof to collapse. Thirty-eight were hospitalized, including four burn victims.
Surviving friends and family of the victims say they want a full inspection of the Beef Snap makers' equipment, especially the hydrolyzed corn gluten dispenser. Upper management for Mechanically Separated Jerky Treats has indicated only that they maintain a strict "no beverages" policy in the area in question, but that is little consolation to those affected.
"This is awful, just awful. I always knew those things were bad news," says Gloria Benzocaine, who witnessed the tragedy and was lucky enough to receive only minor burns. "I threw up once, and there was Beef Snap in there. Funny thing is, I hadn't eaten one in over a week!"