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.
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
“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.