Steel Plant Explosion
11:57 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Hospital: At Least 9 Hurt In Granite City Steel Plant Blast

Updated at 4:35 p.m. with response from Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional information and clarifications.

A reported explosion at a southwestern Illinois steel plant has injured at least nine people, including two who remain hospitalized.

Fire officials say the blast happened shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday at American Steel Foundries in Granite City, just northeast of St. Louis.

Seven of the injured were taken to Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City. Spokeswoman Kate Allaria said all were treated for smoke inhalation and released. Two patients were transported by air to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis where they remained in critical condition. Granite City assistant fire chief Jim Snelson said they sustained burns and other injuries.

Allaria says the Gateway Regional emergency room director reported transporting a third critically injured person. But officials at Saint Louis University and Barnes-Jewish hospitals say they did not receive any patients from the blast. Neither did a trauma center in Springfield, Ill.  The reason for the discrepancy was not clear.

The plant at 1700 Walnut St. is owned by Amstead Rail. The company's vice president of human relations Wayne Luce, said the company is cooperating with federal investigators, and that it would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause.

Follow St. Louis Public Radio on Twitter: @stlpublicradio