NEW YORK A fire at Republic Steel Co.s Lorain, Ohio, mill has taken the facilitys new furnace out of commission and sent five employees to the hospital, but the mills rolling and finishing operations have not been affected, the company said.
Julian Sanchez, director of operations at the mill, said the Nov. 30 fire occurred during the hot commissioning of the plants steelmaking operation, where the company has installed a new electric-arc furnace.
The $85-million, 150-ton furnace, which went online last week, is meant to produce 6- x 6-inch billets for Lorains 9/10-inch rolling mill for special bar quality production (amm.com, Nov. 26).
"This has taken the brand-new furnace out of commission, but the rest of the mill, including the rolling and finishing operations, is still up and running," a company spokesman told AMM.
Lorain Fire Chief Tom Brown said a malfunctioning oxygen line played a role in the blaze, damaging equipment, but Canton, Ohio-based Republic is still investigating the incident.
"Investigators are working to determine the cause of the accident so that we can address the situation and make necessary repairs to the equipment and computer systems that were damaged. Our goal is to get the equipment back up and running as safely and as quickly as possible," Sanchez said.
The Lorain fire department received a call at 2:19 p.m. Nov. 30, according to Brown, and extinguished the fire by 3:30 p.m.
None of the employees sent to the hospital had serious injuries, and they have since been released, the company said.