Houston, TX Red-Hot Metal Kills Two Workers at Armco Steel, Dec 1967

Courier Journal newspaper, Louisville, KY - 19 December 1967

Red-Hot Metal Kills 2 Workers In Houston Fire

HOUSTON (AP) - A huge ladle containing 30 tons of molten pig iron fell 40 feet yesterday at the Armco Steel Mill killing two workmen yesterday and injuring 29 others, 11 critically.

LEO BELL, 53, and HOUSTON H. KRUEGER, 55, both of Houston, died in Baptist Memorial Hospital about seven hours after the accident. The 31 men, including KRUEGER and BELL, were injured when the molten metal, heated up to 2,800 degrees fahrenheit, struck the ground and splattered. All the injured were Armco employes.

A plant official said nine of the men were in the open-hearth area where the accident occurred. Another nine were up to 120 feet away.

Clothing Catches Fire

Burke Huber, plant assistant safety supervisor, said most of the injuries came from burning clothes set fire by the metal. A few suffered injuries from falls and 10 employes were treated for minor injuries at the plant.

The eleven critically injured workmen were hospitalized at Baptist Memorial Hospital, as were five others in fair condition. Three were admitted to suburban Northshore Hospital and were reported in fair condition.

A hospital official said some of the injured men were burned so badly they were difficult to identify. He said some may be blinded.

Surgeons performed five emergency tracheotomies - incisions into the windpipe - to permit victims to breath. Ten doctors were called in to treat the injured.

There was little damage inside the steel producing plant itself, and work quickly resumed.