Two Burned in Flash Fire at Kennecott Smelter

Two Burned in Flash Fire at Kennecott Smelter

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Two men were hospitalized Tuesday with burns from a flash fire at Kennecott Utah Copper's smelter plant.

Kennecott did not immediately release the names of the men.

A 42-year-old man was burned from the knees upward, said Salt Lake County Fire Department Capt. Jay Ziolkowski.

The man first-degree burns on his upper legs, second-degree burns on his stomach and chest, and severe burns on his arms, hands and face, Ziolkowski said. He was flown by helicopter to the University of Utah Intermountain Burn Center.

The second man, age unknown, was in the area of the fire, but he was not as severely burned, said Louie Cononelos, spokesman for Kennecott. He was taken by ambulance to the burn center.

The two men were contract employees repairing ducts at the smelter, about 15 miles west of Salt Lake City. Apparently, the grinder they used for repair hit oxygen in the ducting, causing the explosion, Cononelos said.

Kennecott has begun an investigation, he said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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