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Mill Blast Investigation Underway

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Investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of a fatal explosion at a Portage, Indiana steel mill last night. It’s the second investigation for the plant in two months.

Beta Steel had just undergone a safety inspection of its furnace following another explosion at the plant in November.

No one was killed in that incident. But Thursday’s blast was in the same area, involving the same furnace.

But this latest incident left an employee dead and four injured. Jeff Carter is deputy commissioner of the Indiana Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

He says following the inspection two months ago, the company made adequate changes.

CARTER: In our eyes, anytime someone gets killed on the job there’s a serious problem and we’ve got some very tough questions for folks.

The company is back in operation. A spokesman declined comment. A union official says overall the company runs a safe operation, despite other past incidents, including a blast in 1996 that left three employees dead.

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