Two Workers in Critical Condition
AN EXPLOSION IN A STEEL CASTINGS plant in Granite City, Illinois, Thursday injured at least ten people, two of them critically.
The blast occurred around 8 am in the Cleaning and Finishing department of the American Steel Foundries facility – Amsted Rail - which makes railroad car undercarriages. wheel assemblies, and related parts.
The Belleville News-Democrat reported:
The two men critically injured were airlifted to Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Creve Coeur, Mo. A third person was airlifted from Granite City to Missouri, according to Erin Echelmeyer, spokeswoman for Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City. However, Echelmeyer did not know further details about the third airlifted worker's whereabouts.
A total of 10 injured workers were transported to Gateway on Thursday morning, Echelmeyer said. Of these 10, three were airlifted and seven were treated and released from Gateway.
United Steelworkers of America Local 1063 President Robert Lott, who represents workers at the plant, said he was in the building and standing about 100 yards from the scene of the explosion when it happened. Lott said Reginald Golliday, who has worked at the railroad carriage manufacturing plant for the past 17 years, may have suffered two broken legs, a large gash on his forehead and internal injuries. He also said that Danny Wilson, a 10-year veteran at the plant, suffered a broken leg and internal injuries.
All of the injured employees were standing on a wooden platfore or loading dock and the early indications are that there was a gas leak beneath the platform that ignited and caused the blast. KTVI-TV also reported:
The force of the blast sent workers flying through the air. Clifford McIntyre, a steel worker, went to help his fellow employees who were injured. He said, "All I heard was an explosion when I went back to see what was going on I seen a couple of my Union brothers out and on fire."
Fire Chief Tim Connolly said, "They said there was a gas explosion." United Steel Union V.P. Bobby Washington was working inside the plant. "When the explosion happened they don’t know what it was but it blew workers from their job and they were damaged and burning," he said.
Workers became one, rescuing the injured. McIntyre said, "First reaction was to put him out with my jacket and then another union brother came over with a fire extinguisher and put him out."
KTVI-TV also posted this video report:
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The Amsted Rail foundry employs approx. 800 people. (Google Satellite View)
Hat tip: Mark D.
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