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What were those mystery 'booms' in Middletown?

Posted at 9:19 AM, Feb 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-25 15:35:20-05

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Plenty of people heard the "booms" late Saturday night. But for much of the night and into Sunday, the cause was a mystery.

As it turned out, the heavy rainfall was partly to blame.

Middletown residents reported loud explosions at AK Steel Corp. around 11:20 p.m. But, according to WCPO media partner the Journal-News, the company told police they were fine.

The reason became clear Sunday afternoon: Douglas Huffnagel, with Stein Inc., told WCPO his company hauls slag from AK Steel. Slag is a byproduct of the steelmaking process, and, as you can imagine, it can be extremely hot.

On Saturday night, moisture mixed into the hot slag. That caused "a louder than usual noise," Stein said via email.

In a Facebook post, the Middletown Division of Police asked that people stop calling to report the sounds: 

"We are aware of the loud booms that occurred tonight throughout the city. Although it may have sounded like an explosion, we are not aware of one and do not have first responders out on anything similar."