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Five workers burned in AK flash-fire

By Joseph Roberts, Journal Staff Writer, E-mail:

Two employees were taken to the hospital and three were treated at AK Steel’s medical facility Monday after a flash-fire in the coke plant near Oxford State Road.

The crew was doing maintenance work on a pipe when escaped coke-oven gas ignited at 2:19 p.m. Flash-fires typically flare-up quickly and die down once their fuel is spent. Middletown Deputy Fire Chief Jim Hall said the blaze was already out when firefighters arrived.

“It went out immediately as soon as it burned up the fuel,” Hall said. Two ambulances and two fire engines responded.

Alan McCoy, AK’s vice president of public affairs, said two of the employees received second-degree burns about their faces and hands. They were taken to Middletown Regional Hospital by ambulance. The others suffered first-degree burns in the same areas, he said.

Hall and McCoy both said none of the injuries was serious. McCoy said that all of the employers were observed, treated and released. One of the employees was back at work Monday evening, while the others were expected back to work today, McCoy said.

Hall said the fire did not cause any damage to the facility.

McCoy said the fire did not stop the plant’s operations, but its cause is under investigation.

“These employees were performing routine maintenance,” he said. “Something caused a flashback, and that’s what we’re investigating now.”

Published 04.15.03



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