Explosion at Steel Plant Slag Pit, Cleveland-Cliffs, Burns Harbor, Indiana

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Imagery ©2021 Google, TerraMetrics, NOAA, Landsat / Copernicus, Imagery ©2021 IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA, Farm Service Agency, Map data ©2021.

Police and firefighters from Burns Harbor responded Tuesday afternoon, November 30, 2021 to an explosion at the Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor steel plant.

According to The Northwest Indiana Times, the blast was felt at least as far away as Portage, and a plume of red smoke was visible as far as Chesterton. People reported that their whole homes and shops shook, according to the times.

“We have police and fire units on scene at Cleveland Cliffs assisting other agencies. At this point I don’t have any additional information.”

— Portage Police Chief Michael Candiano

According to United Steelworkers Local 6787 President Pete Trinidad said no one was injured. Trinidad said the blast occurred in a slag pit at the steel mill along the Lake Michigan lakeshore in Porter County.

Lorraine George posted on social media that she got a call that there was an explosion in the C Furnace Slag Pit at Cleveland Cliffs.

Slag is a by-product of smelting (pyrometallurgical) ores and used metals, generally. Slag can be classified as ferrous (by-products of processing iron and steel), ferroalloy (by-product of ferroalloy production) or non-ferrous/base metals (by-products of recovering non-ferrous materials like copper, nickel, zinc and phosphorus).

According to the United States EPA, Cleveland Cliffs Burns Harbor, (CCBH) facility is one of the largest fully integrated steel mills in North America, with the capacity to produce 5 million tons of raw steel per year. The steel plant operates at the former location of ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor (AMBH).

Burns Harbor is a town in Westchester Township, Porter County, Indiana, located on the south shore of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana. Burns Harbor is part of the Chicago metropolitan area with a local population of 1,156, according to the 2010 census. Burns Harbor is located just southwest of the Indiana Dunes State Park.

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