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Blast hospitalizes Standard Steel employee

Mar 13, 2014 | 12:56 PM | Lisa Gordon

Tags  Standard Steel, explosion, James Stringfellow, forged wheels, axles, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — A Standard Steel LLC employee is in critical condition at a local burn unit after a suspected gas leak triggered an explosion March 12 at the manufacturer of forged wheels and axles.

The blast occurred at about 2:30 p.m. in a washroom adjacent to a storage facility, the Burnham, Pa.-based company said in a statement.

Fire departments from various counties and rescue teams responded, Mifflin County (Pa.) Office of Public Safety director Phil Lucas told AMM.

The accident is under investigation. “The actual source (of the explosion) has not been identified at this time but it is believed to be mechanical failure in a gas line leading to the locker room facility. A heater or water heater may have had a failure in the gas line,” Lucas said. “Fortunately the majority of the staff had left the locker area at that time because a shift change was in progress.”

Standard Steel employee James Stringfellow is listed in critical condition at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Center, a hospital spokesman said.

The company, which employs 640 people, is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.

Operations at the plant weren’t affected by the incident, the company said.

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