Nine injured in accident at Bethlehem Steel

June 10, 1999|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Nine workers repairing a huge iron furnace at the Bethlehem Steel Corp. Sparrows Point facility were hurt yesterday when a boom on a 250-ton crane collapsed and fell about 250 feet.

Baltimore County Fire Battalion Chief Mark Hubbard said the boom fell shortly after 10 a.m. while employees of various contractors were repairing a blast furnace.

Three of those injured were treated for minor injuries at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The six others were treated at the Bethelem Steel dispensary, Hubbard said.

He said none of the injuries were life-threatening and that the most serious was a shoulder injury. The accident will be investigated by the Maryland Occupational Health and Safety program, he said.

Ted Baldwin, a spokesman for Bethlehem Steel, said the 300-foot-high furnace was shut down Saturday so that Kvaerner Songer Construction Co., a contractor based in Washington, Pa., could complete a $100 million upgrade.

Gary Sloane, Kvaerner Songer's project manager, said yesterday that the cause of the accident is being investigated.

He said the boom was part of a crane being used to repair a valve on a gas main near the furnace.

Sloane said no one was hit by the boom. He said workers were injured as they tripped and fell over gas mains, heavy machinery and tools as they rushed to get out of the way of the falling boom.

"We were fortunate it wasn't more serious," Sloane said.

Pub Date: 6/10/99

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