Salt Lake City: Steel Plant Explosions Injure Six, Temporarily Close Facility : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Steel Plant Explosions Injure Six, Temporarily Close Facility

Salt Lake City, UT, United States

3/5/2000- 10:15 AM

The series of explosions occurred at Geneva Steels's Vineyard plant. The facility was expected to reopen today (Tues. 3/7/2000).

The first explosion occurred when several workers were taking a steel sample from a furnace.

The molten steel, heated to a temperature of 2,300 degrees, hit a water line, releasing steam and seeting off a series of a dozen explosions.

"By the time the dusst cleared it looke more like a battle ground," Gary Larson, a worker who suffered minor injuries in the explosion told Salt Lake City TV station KUTV. "Everything was burned up."

Carl Ramnitz, Geneva's vice president for human resources, said the exact cause of the problem had not been determined, but the employees had done nothing wrong.

Four workers were treated and released from the Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem. Two others, Dennis Rowley and Richard Lerogy, were airlifed to the burn center at the University of Utah.

Leroy was later released. Rowley is in stable condition with second-degree burns to his hands, face and head.

-- Carl Jenkins (, March 07, 2000


Looks like Carl scooped me in my own backyard!

Funny, but this is the first I have heard of this - there was nothing about it on the news or in the paper that I was aware of.

Thanks Carl!

-- Jen Bunker (, March 07, 2000.

Tuesday, March 07, 2000

Cause of leak, explosions at Geneva sought

Team investigates the molten-steel accident that hurt 5 By Edward L. Carter Deseret News staff writer

VINEYARD, Utah County  A team of investigators began work Tuesday to determine why a brick wall in a furnace at the Geneva Steel plant failed, allowing 220 tons of molten steel to leak, critically burning one worker and injuring four others in a Sunday night accident. The leak set off a series of explosions inside the plant. The investigation into the cause of the leak was delayed Monday because bricks in the failed furnace remained too hot to permit close examination by Geneva operators and engineers. Geneva officials anticipate having a report on the accident completed by the end of the week. Although the cause has not been determined, investigators were examining the steel to determine whether something in the scrap could have corroded the brick, said Carl Ramnitz, vice president for human resources. Dennis Rowley was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday at University Hospital's Intermountain Burn Center. He suffered burns to his head and leg Sunday when the hot liquid steel leaked through the heat-resistant brick lining one of Geneva's two basic oxygen furnaces. Rowley and another steelworker, Richard LeRoy, were transported by helicopter ambulance to the Salt Lake City hospital's burn unit after the 10:15 p.m. Sunday incident. LeRoy, who suffered burns to his hands, face and leg, was released from the hospital Monday. Three other workers were treated at Orem Community Hospital Sunday for minor injuries. A maintenance worker who jumped from a 5- foot scaffolding suffered a broken heel, Geneva officials said. The molten steel ate through a shell and leaked down the side of the furnace, Ramnitz said. The steel then burned through a water- cooled jacket. "When it did that, water began to leak," Ramnitz said. The mixture of molten steel and water caused an explosion that blew out an inspection port on the furnace, and the remaining steel then escaped through the port, Ramnitz said. As the steel and water mixed, as many as a dozen explosions rocked the area surrounding the furnace. "This is the first time we've had an incident of this nature since we put these furnaces in," Ramnitz said. Geneva Steel has two basic oxygen furnaces, and one of them was down for maintenance when the accident happened. The second furnace was expected to be running by Tuesday afternoon, but officials were unsure how long repairs on the damaged furnace could take. Ramnitz said one furnace would allow the plant to operate at what it considers full capacity. Although neither of the basic oxygen furnaces was functioning Monday, other areas of the steel plant remained open. Since declaring bankruptcy last year after a glut of imported steel harmed its business, Geneva Steel has slowly tried to climb back to health. The plant is awaiting word on a $110 million federal loan application before submitting a reorganization plan for repaying its debts. The steelmaker now churns out about 160,000 tons of steel per month with a work force of 1,700 people. Geneva posted a profit for the fourth quarter of 1999 after several periods of big losses.,1249,155008319,00.html?

-- Martin Thompson (, March 07, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ