March 22, 2005
Breaking news yesterday reported that at least six people were injured March 21 in a fire and explosion caused by a molten steel spill at a River Rouge industrial complex Severstal steel plant in Dearborn, Mich. That number has been revised to 12—eight Severstal employees and two Dearborn Fire Dept. and two Ford Motor Co. emergency responders.
The Company's preliminary investigation indicates that liquid steel erupted from the ladle and splashed on the carrier's tires as the carrier approached the entrance of the Continuous Caster building. The equipment operator safely exited the carrier's cab. Fire and emergency personnel were summoned to the scene to assist in efforts to extinguish the burning tires. The tires exploded approximately one minute apart.
The root cause of the incident continues under investigation. The damage to the exterior siding of the Continuous Caster building has not been completely assessed but it is not considered to be major. The Company reported that steel production continues at a reduced level pending the relocation of the ladle carrier and completion of the building and safety inspection of the impacted area.