East Chicago, IN Furnace Explosion, Sep 1961


East Chicago, Ind. (UPI) -- An explosion in a smelting furnace killed two persons, injured at least 42 and demolished a building in a big aluminum treating plant Thursday.
The blast touched off a fire that burned for hours in the debris of the U.S. Reduction Co. plant in the highly industrialized area on the shore of Lake Michigan southeast of Chicago.
The explosion ripped the plant shortly after 7 a.m., CDT just as shifts were changing.
The body of ABRAHAM SMITH, Gary, was found in the charred debris hours after the blast and another workman, GEORGE BATTLE, 43, East Chicago, died of his injuries in St. Catherine's Hospital.
The hospital treated at least 42 other persons for injuries. Ten, including BATTLE, were hospitalized.
Company officials estimated damage to the plant at $250,000 to $500,000. The cause of the blast was not immediately known.
A plant spokesman said the blast occurred in "a
secondary aluminum smelting furnace" in a building in the northwest section of the plant which covers two city blocks.
Buildings near the plant were damaged by the explosion. Windows were shattered a half mile away.
Firemen from throughout the Calumet steel-making district were summoned to the scene. Five engine companies pumped water on the blaze and a foam fire-fighting unit from a nearby industrial plant stood by in event the fire would spread to chemicals.
The building was demolished. The damage estimate was made by E. A. Bergman, president of the firm, and H. A. Esterbrook, vice president.
About 100 men were at work at the time of the explosion, but best estimates were that only about 40 were in the building.
Others admitted to the hospital were identified as:
GEORGE MAY, 53, Calumet City, Ill.
WILLIE THOMAS, 41, East Chicago, Ind.
ELI LINDSEY, 35, East Chicago, Ind.
CHARLES MITCHELL, 28, East Chicago, Ind.
J. HOWARD MILLER, East Chicago, Ind.
DARDIS DOLAN, 28, Chicago.
JIM GARY, 37, Gary.
EDWIN MILLSAP, 32, Whiting.
JOHN COBB, 30, Hammond.

Anderson Herald Indiana 1961-09-29