TN Steel Mill Blast Hurts 6

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @ 11:05 PM gHale

Six workers suffered injuries in an explosion at a Knoxville, Tennessee, steel mill, fire officials said.

One worker ended up critically burned in the Thursday night blast, said Knoxville Fire Department Capt. D.J. Corcoran.

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“We don’t know if it was a steam burn or a metal burn, but he was burned over 80 percent of his body,” Corcoran said.

Five others injured workers had been treated and released from a local hospital.

Investigators were trying Friday to determine the cause of the blast at Gerdau Ameristeel Mill in north Knoxville. Corcoran said it occurred in a part of the plant where a furnace melts down the metal.

Gerdau Ameristeel uses an electric arc furnace to turn scrap metal into steel.

The names of the victims were not immediately available. Officials with the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration said they were still investigating the cause. It typically takes six to eight weeks to complete an investigation, TOSHA spokesman Jeff Hentschel said in an email.

“The company is committed to worker safety and is working with the proper authorities to determine the root cause of the incident,” Gerdau Ameristeel’s statement said.

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