No injuries after explosion rocks steel mill

By The Associated Press

BURNS HARBOR — A fiery explosion that rocked a northwestern Indiana steel mill early Thursday was caused by equipment failure at one of the plant's blast furnaces, a company official said.

ArcelorMittal spokesman William Steers said no one was injured and the resulting fire was contained and extinguished at the company’s Burns Harbor mill along Lake Michigan.

He said the fire was caused by a stove dome failure, and the furnace was taken safely offline at the complex, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Chicago.

“We are creating a timeline for repairs and the company does not anticipate any impact on our ability to meet customer demand,” Steers said.

A video posted to social media showed that the explosion at Blast Furnace D showered the mill with shrapnel from big chunks of burning hot white refractory, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Refractory is the interior lining that protects the blast furnace shell from super-heated temperatures within during the steelmaking process

Burns Harbor Fire Chief William Arney said his department and the Porter Fire Department assisted ArcelorMittal's internal fire department in dousing the flames following the explosion and fire.

“The cause of the fire/explosion is still under investigation," Arney said.

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