Monessen, PA Span Collapses At Steel Plant, July 1953


Monessen, Pa., (AP) -- Four men were killed and 12 were injured in a steel plant railroad span collapse that sent tons of limestone and iron ore from three hopper cars crashing onto a group of lunching workers.
Seventeen hours after the accident at Pittsburgh Steel Co., weary workers early today found the body of the fourth victim buried under tons of debris.
He is CELESTE TRETTER, 67, Monessen. Others killed were ARCHIE McCOY, 25, Monessen; ADOARDO E. ARRIGONI, 62, Charleroi; and FRANCIS COWELL, 31, of near Monessen.
Six injured, none listed as critical, were detained at Charleroi-Monessen Hospital. Six other workers were treated at the plant hospital for minor injuries.
Hospitalized are:
CARL P. DITTA, 42, Charleroi.
STEPHEN MACZUR, 68, Monessen.
JOHN G. DEEDE, JR., 30, Perryopolis.
TONY ZYSKI, 64, Monessen.
WILLIAM MOSS, 57, Pricedale.
The trestle collapsed with explosive suddenness as the victims, seeking relief from the heat, sat in the shade of the hopper cars eating their lunch yesterday.
Those who escaped major injury and death did so by jumping away from the main mass of hoppers and material as they plunged down.
A six-inch steam line was broken by the falling trestle leading to early reports that an explosion had occurred.
Some of the men suffered burns from the escaping steam. Others were listed at the hospital as gassed, but plant officials did not know whether it was from the escaping steam or the choking clouds of dust.
E. M. Barber, executive vice president of the company, credited prompt action of other workers in shutting off gas and oil lines with preventing a serious explosion or fire.
The steam line also was quickly shut off to prevent further injury to those caught in the debris and to permit rescue squads to work.
The trestle was about 20 feet above ground and ran along the open hearth shop. Railroad hopper cars were pushed onto the trestle and their contents dropped into bins. From these bins, small hoppers delivered the materials to the 12 open hearth furnaces.
Some 4,800 men work in the plant and the accident was the first fatal one in a year.
P. E. Sance, vice president in charge of operations, said cause of the collapse had not been determined.

Chester Times Pennsylvania 1953-07-30