A furnace used to melt steel blew up at an East Baltimore plant last night, shaking the surrounding neighborhood but sparking only several small blazes that firefighters were able to extinguish within 10 minutes of arriving.
No one was injured at the Armco Specialty Steel plant in the 3500 block of East Biddle Street, but the blast brought many East Baltimore residents out of their homes and drew concerned relatives of workers to the company's front gates.
"We did see a flash," said Merle Blackwell Jr., 25, whose father is a maintenance man at the plant. They live about 1 1/2 miles west of Armco, near Johns Hopkins Hospital. "We heard a real distant rumble, like thunder, off in the distance," Mr. Blackwell said.