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Ohio steel plant fire injures five

02 December 2013

Five workers who were injured during a blast and fire at the Republic Steel plant in Lorain, Ohio, have been released from the hospital. The injured employees were among dozens of workers who were in the building at the Republic Steel plant when the conflagration took place.

Plant director of operations Julian Sanchez said the accident occurred during the "hot commissioning" of steel-making operations on the site. Sanchez said the company, the United Steelworkers Local 1104 and the equipment manufacturer are investigating the cause of the accident.

Lorain Fire Department Captain Tom Baker said a heat source found its way into the oxygen supply system for a new electric arc furnace, causing a fire like a "huge blow torch" shooting up three floors inside the concrete building. The fire department estimated the cost of the damage in the millions of dollars.

Steel production at the plant originally ceased in December 2008, but Republic Steel invested $85 million in the new furnace, which was designed to produce more than 1 million tons of steel annually.

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