PA: Explosion at Copper Plant Injures Five, Dislodges 800-Pound Molds : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

PA: Explosion at Copper Plant Injures Five, Dislodges 800-Pound Molds

Leetsdale, PA, United States 4/10/2000- 11:40 AM The explosion injured five workers, twisted water lines and dislodged 800-pound molds for the molten copper.

Three employees of Hussey Copper Ltd. were treated at area hospitals and released, but two others remained under care, one for second- and third-degree burns.

A plant executive speculated that the blast was triggered by water contaminating the copper during the casting process, when molten copper is poured into a mold and cooled by a water bath into solid cakes.

Under such conditions, the copper would encapsulated the water, causing it to turn to steam, build up pressure and exploded, said Robert Peterson, Hussey's vice president of industrial relations.

"We believe one of the water lines may have broken underneath the casting operation," Peterson said, cautioning, however, that he did not yet know whether the explosion broke the water pipes.

Gerald States, 59, of Economy, was in critical condition at Mercy Hospital with burns over 10 percent of his body.

Workers in the casting shop, he said, typically wear aluminum-rayon protective jackets and pants along with hard hats. Peterson said States, the most seriously injured worker, was not wearing his protective uniform, but he didn't know why.

"I don't have the slightest idea," he said.

An investigator from the Pittsburgh office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was expected to visit the plant.

Although volunteer fire companies from Leetsdale and Fair Oaks were dispatched to the scene, they were turned away because the explosion did not cause a fire, Peterson said.

-- Carl Jenkins (, April 11, 2000


Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Did the explosion cause the water leak, or, did the water leak cause the explosion?

That's the riddle that has to be answered before you could figure a possible y2k connection here.

-- JackW (, April 12, 2000.

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