December 22, 2014

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UPDATED: Three transported after explosion at Republic Steel

A security vehicle leaves the Pearl Avenue gate at the steel mill after a morning explosion that sent three people to the hospital. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

A security vehicle leaves the Pearl Avenue gate at the steel mill after a morning explosion that sent three people to the hospital. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Three people were taken to the hospital after an incident at Republic Steel plant on Monday morning.

The Lorain Fire Department received a report of an explosion at 8:35 a.m., according to Assistant Fire Chief Gary Burls.

Burls said there wasn’t technically an explosion, but rather a combination of a water leak and scrap metal falling into the new blast furnace, which caused metal to be blasted from the furnace. Three men standing nearby were hit by the hot metal shards — one of the workers was hit in the head, and the two others were hospitalized for burns.

LifeCare paramedics were already treating the victims by the time the Fire Department arrived, Burls said.

LifeCare Vice President Herb de la Porte said the three men, all in their 40s, were transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

The victims’ names were not released.

Burls said small fires, which were caused by the blast, had been extinguished by plant personnel before the Fire Department arrived. He said the Fire Department cleared the scene at 9:17 a.m.

OSHA has an inspector on scene and will be conducting an investigation, OSHA spokeswoman Rhonda Burke said.