CHICAGO (CBS) — An explosion rocked the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Burns Harbor, Indiana Thursday morning, sparking a fire and causing damage to equipment near a blast furnace, officials said.
No one was injured in the blast, which happened at the D blast furnace at the plant, according to the Burns Harbor Fire Department. Video shared with CBS 2 shows a fire raging near the site of the explosion.
Photos of the aftermath obtained by CBS 2 show fire crews working to extinguish the blaze, as well as twisted metal damaged by the blast and rubble covering the ground nearby.
An ArcelorMittal spokesperson told CBS 2 the explosion was caused by a “stove dome failure,” and that the plant was safely taken offline.
“We are thankful there are no injuries as a result of the incident,” the spokesperson said, adding that the cause of the explosion is under investigation.
The explosion occurred less than a year after a cyanide spill at the plant killed fish in the area and forced the closure of area beaches.
A report from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) alleged ArcelorMittal missed warning signs a week before the spill, when a water-damaged battery system failed on August 4, 2019. That battery system ultimately caused the spill of hundreds of pounds of cyanide over the next few days.
ArcelorMittal didn’t tell the state about the equipment problems until August 14. The company told CBS 2 around that time that it didn’t tell the state right away because they were waiting on definitive test results.
In January 2020, the state sent a letter to ArcelorMittal alleging the company had manipulated test results by redoing tests that showed violations and using new tests to replace those results.
State authorities said the practice “undermines the integrity” of the test results ArcelorMittal submitted.
“If ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor maintains that it cannot credibly report noncompliant results based upon one analysis of a given sample … then IDEM cannot feel confident in compliant results reported by ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor that are based on one analysis of a given sample,” IDEM Deputy Director Rick Massoels wrote. “ArcelorMittal’s self-monitoring program is either capable of generating valid results based upon one analysis of a given sample or it is not.”