Chesterton Tribune

ArcelorMittal employee burned in accident last month dies

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The salaried employee badly burned last month in an accident at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility has died.

Gabe Rocha, 53, died at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., a spokesperson for the Cook County, Ill., Medical Examiner’s Office told the Chesterton Tribune today.

Rocha sustained burns to 50 to 60 percent of his body after a high-pressure steam hose at the No. 1 basic oxygen furnace burst around 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29. At the time of the accident, Rocha had been investigating a previous rupture of a steam hose at the No. 2 BOF, United Steelworkers Local 6787 President Paul Gipson said.

Rocha was “sprayed from his head to his feet”—along his hands, back, neck, and legs—and airlifted directly from the Burns Harbor facility to the Loyola University hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma, Gipson said.

The hose in question is designed to use water to keep the BOF cool. But that water produces steam under high pressure, Gipson noted.

Rocha, who was not a member of Local 6787, came to the Burns Harbor facility about six months ago from ArcelorMittal’s East Chicago facility.

Gipson was not available today to discuss the status of a joint union-management investigation of the accident.


Posted 11/16/2011