Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deadly Fire at Foundry Kills Man, Injures 6 Venice Plant Has Had Fatalities in Past

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deadly Fire at Foundry Kills Man, Injures 6 Venice Plant Has Had Fatalities in Past

Article excerpt

One worker was killed, three were burned seriously and three more slightly hurt Thursday in a fire that broke out about 7:30 a.m. at Spectrulite Consortium Inc.'s aluminum and magnesium foundry in Venice.

The workers, all men, were rushed to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Granite City. The four most seriously injured were transferred to St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur, two by helicopter.

Thomas A. Rhein, 49, of Waterloo, was pronounced dead at St. John's at 11:52 a.m. Hospital officials said he had been burned over his entire body.

Listed in critical condition at St. John's, with burns over 55 percent of his body, was Allen Sunhouser, 51, of Cahokia, who was transported with Rhein by helicopter.

Listed in satisfactory condition at St. John's were Byron G. Pinkston, 59, of Gillespie, Ill., with burns over 30 percent of this body, and Charles G. Green, 35, of Caseyville, with burns over 18 1/2 percent of his body.

(* This text replaced the previous paragraph in the THREE STAR edition *)

Also at St. John's were Byron G. Pinkston, 59, of Gillespie, Ill., listed in serious condition with burns over 30 percent of this body, and Charles G. Green, 35, of Caseyville, in satisfactory condition with burns over 18 1/2 percent of his body.

(* end of THREE STAR text/paragraph *)

The three other workers were treated at St. Elizabeth and released. Company officials said those workers had suffered smoke inhalation or minor burns, plus trauma from struggling to help co-workers.

Previous mishaps caused fatal injuries to workers at the plant in 1988 and 1994.

Kathy Clark, manager of human resources at Spectrulite, said the fire broke out during the 7:30 a.m. shift change in what company officials call the "pot room," where castings are formed using molten metal.

"We do not know what happened," she said. Workers reported seeing flames, but there was no explosion or big noise, she said. …

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