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Melt shop at AK Steel's Middletown Works down until early February

Michigan, Pennsylvania plants will step in to help
Posted: 11:18 AM, Jan 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-22 16:18:59Z

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- A malfunction and massive fire at AK Steel's Middletown Works will put its melt shop out of operation until early month.

A ladle carrying liquid steel broke Saturday morning, spilling the molten metal inside the plant. Four fire departments responded to contain the situation in a part of the plant where iron is turned into steel.

A Middletown fire lieutenant was treated for minor injuries, mostly exhaustion; no AK Steel employees were hurt.

The malfunction will put the melt shop out of operation for eight to 10 days. AK Steel will use its plants in Michigan and Pennsylvania so it doesn't fall behind on most shipments.

Firefighters were at the plant for several hours Saturday. Molten steel requires different firefighting tactics, officials said, because water instantly evaporates and can create dangerous splatters.

"It's a much more difficult type of fire event," said Jeff Spaulding, Middletown deputy fire chief. "It's not your typical house fire or building fire that most fire departments respond to."