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Ind. Steel Plant Explosion Kills 1, Injures 4

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 3:20am

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — An explosion at a steel plant in Indiana killed one worker and injured four more on Thursday, a fire official said.

Portage Fire Chief Bill Lundy said the evening blast at the Beta Steel Corp. plant may have happened because water somehow met with molten steel.

One person died at the scene, Lundy said.

He described two of the workers who were hurt in the blast as "walking wounded" and said that all four injured were taken to the hospital. Lundy said they all suffered steam burns he but had no other details about their injuries.

He said all the casualties worked at the Beta Steel plant in Portage, some 135 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Lundy said the plant was not on fire but that there had been some damage to the furnace area.

Calls to the Beta Steel plant reached voicemail Thursday night.

In March 1996, three steelworkers at Beta Steel were killed when a pressurized water-air tank at the Portage steelmaker's lakefront plant exploded. Eight others were injured.

A worker for an electrical contractor died at the plant in January 2000 after apparently being electrocuted while working on transformers in the plant's control room. And an explosion at the same plant in November last year left eight people injured.

Beta Steel produces hot-rolled coil for steel service.

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