More than half a dozen people were injured in an explosion at a steel mill in Pueblo, Colorado on Saturday, local CBS affiliate KKTV 11 reported.
According to KKTV, the Ervaz steel mill was the site of a furnace explosion late Saturday that left at least eight workers wounded, including at least three who were reported to have critical injuries.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reportedly joined an investigation into the incident.
“We responded with our typical full response for a structure fire. Dispatch told us it was actually at the steel mill,” Pueblo Fire Department Assistant Chief Keith Miller told KKTV.
Cause remains undetermined
According to reports, the cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.
David Light, vice president of operations at Ervaz’s Pueblo location, said he believed the blast was caused by water getting into the electrical furnace, causing pressure to build and ultimately erupt, The Pueblo Chieftan reported.
According to the Washington Examiner, Miller said firefighters found some 130 tons of steel inside the furnace at max temperature, and had to wait for the metal to cool down before they could “go in and operate.”
“We found that it was a furnace that they used to melt the steel that exploded,” the assistant fire chief explained. “When we first got here, they had 130 tons of steel inside that furnace at max temperature. It sounds like they had a cooling system failure, which is when water was introduced, which is potentially what caused the explosion. So we are waiting for that 130 tons of steel to cool down enough to where we can go in and operate.”
“No risk of danger right now”
As of late Sunday, three of the injured workers remained in the hospital, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
“Our concern is with the members of our team who are injured and still at the hospital,” Light said Sunday, as the Gazette reported. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.”
Light did not comment on the future plans for the mill.
“I do know that everything is safe and secure,” he noted, according to the Gazette. “There’s no risk of danger right now, and there shouldn’t be anymore.”