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UPDATE: 8 injured at Evraz steel mill in Pueblo after explosion

Fire at the Evraz Steel Mill in Pueblo 5/29/21.
Fire at the Evraz Steel Mill in Pueblo 5/29/21.(11 News Viewer Jess M.)
Published: May. 29, 2021 at 7:03 PM MDT|Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 11:03 AM MDT
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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE: Officials tell KKTV that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has joined the investigation into what caused a furnace explosion at a Pueblo steel mill Saturday night.

Right now, it is unclear how long the site will be closed while the investigation is underway.

Eight workers were injured in a furnace explosion at a Pueblo steel mill Saturday night. So far, none of those people have been released from the hospital, though they are all expected to survive their injuries.

Seven workers were originally reported injured from the blast, but Evraz Pueblo Vice President of Operations Dave Light confirms an eighth worker was also hurt and drove themselves to the local emergency room.

Original article:

Seven workers were injured in a furnace explosion at a Pueblo steel mill Saturday night.

Three employees suffered critical injuries but are expected to survive, said Evraz Pueblo Vice President of Operations Dave Light.

Seven workers were originally reported injured from the blast, but Light confirms an eighth worker was also hurt and drove themselves to the local emergency room.

Firefighters responded to the plant just after 6 p.m.

“We responded with our typical full response for a structure fire. Dispatch told us it was actually at the steel mill,” said Assistant Chief Keith Miller with the Pueblo Fire Department.

Responding firefighters immediately began looking for victims.

“We took a look around try to find as many victims as we could, to get ambulances lined up for them, and try to triage everyone and see what we had inside the building,” Miller said.

According to Light, the seven injured were all able to walk themselves out of the building. Two of the workers were transported to Parkview hospital with respiratory injuries and a third was transported to Denver for treatment of burns on their hands and face. All spent the night in the hospital and were stable as of Sunday morning. Light said two of the three are expected to be released from the hospital “soon.”

The root cause of the explosion remains under investigation Sunday.

“We found that it was a furnace that they used to melt the steel that exploded,” Miller explained. “... When we first got here they had 130 tons of steel inside that furnace at max temperature. It sounds like they had a cooling system failure, which is when water was introduced, which is potentially what caused the explosion. So we are waiting for that 130 tons of steel to cool down enough to where we can go in and operate.”

The steel mill is on the south side of the city east of I-25. Neighbors said they could hear the explosion from a distance.

“I was at home when I heard the boom, the explosion. I got up and went outside with my camcorder, and I started recording smoke in the air behind the trees,” said Carol Howard. “... I was scared. I was wondering who would be hurt here, how many people got hurt.”

“The explosion itself was pretty powerful, definitely. I wouldn’t call it a minor explosion,” Miller said.

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