Steel Plant Blast Leaves One Dead

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 06:12 PM gHale

Steel plant operations halted after a worker died in an explosion early Sunday morning at the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant, Ecorse, MI, police officials said.

Antonino Palazzolo, 32, of Rockwood, MI, died after police said a fire started at 2:30 a.m. Sunday at the plant, at 1 Quality Drive. Investigators determined a ladle full of molten steel tipped over in the plant causing the fire. It is unknown where Palazzolo was in relation to the tipped ladle.

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Company spokeswoman Courtney Boone said the explosion happened in the plant’s steel shop. Palazzolo had been with the company about two years. Two others suffered minor injuries in the blast.

According to the company’s website, Great Lakes Works has an annual capacity of about 3.8 million tons. It’s along the Detroit River straddling the communities of Ecorse and River Rouge. Its products include hot-rolled, cold-rolled and coated sheet steels whose main users are automakers.

Various agencies, including the Ecorse fire department and the United Steelworkers union, continue to investigate the explosion. While the company put a halt on steelmaking operations at the plant, officials say there’s no danger for employees.

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