CHICAGO As many as 10
Amsted Rail Co. Inc. employees were injured March 7 following
an explosion at the Chicago-based companys Granite City,
Ill., foundry, with two men listed in critical condition.
The Granite City Fire Department
responded at 8:10 a.m. to reports of an explosion at the
facility, with at least two injuries reported at the time,
assistant chief Jim Snelson told AMM.
Wayne Luce, vice president of
human resources and environmental affairs for Chicago-based
parent Amsted Industries Corp., confirmed there was an accident
at the facility, saying it occurred in the cleaning and
finishing area of the plant. The cause of the explosion had yet
to be determined.
The fire department initially
sent two ambulances, two fire engines and three staff vehicles.
After the first two workers were transported, the fire
department received several more reports of injuries, Snelson
said. An ambulance company took more patients to Gateway
Regional Medical Center in Granite City, while the fire
department transported two additional patients.
"There were no visible signs (of
the explosion) to the building," Snelson said, "but the
patients had trauma injuries, burn injuries and
There were conflicting reports
on the number of workers injured in the explosion. Gateway
Regional Medical Center said it received a total of 10 patients
from Amsted; three were transferred to St. Louis
hospitals, two of them by helicopter, while the other
seven were treated. Some have since been released, a
spokeswoman for the hospital told AMM.
Two men were listed in critical
condition at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, a hospital spokeswoman
"Our thoughts and prayers are
with our employees and their families," Luce said. "We have
stationed personnel at the hospital to assist them."
The Occupational Safety and
Health Administrations (OSHAs) district office in
Fairview Heights, Ill., confirmed that inspectors were on site
Thursday. "We have an open-ended inspection there today," a
district spokesman said. "We received a report of an explosion
"We can confirm investigators
were sent out there," an OSHA spokesman in Chicago said. "There
are no details about the accident as of yet. We must try to
determine the cause and if there were any (safety)
Luce said Amsted is cooperating
fully with OSHAs investigation.
The United Steelworkers union
sent an emergency response team to the plant Thursday, team
coordinator Allan McDougall told AMM. The teams
function is to support workplace accident victims and their
families and to act as a bridge between the company and
families of the injured workers.
USW Local 1063 leaders could not be reached for comment.