Probe into fire at Duferco continues

By Karl Henkel


One man remains hospitalized after a nearly 12-hour fire broke out at Duferco Farrell Corp. in Farrell, Pa., on Sunday night.

The unnamed driver suffered first- and second-degree burns, said George Smalley, U.S. director of corporate communications at Houston-based American Air Liquide.

He was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown but later was moved to an Akron-area hospital, Smalley said.

A second driver was hospitalized with minor scratches and later released.

The injuries occurred after an American Air truck delivering liquid hydrogen to Duferco, a mill at 5 Roemer Blvd., exploded about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Approximately 10 employees were evacuated as firefighters and EMTs from the Sharon and Farrell fire departments worked until 6 a.m. to put out the fire and keep a nearby 20-foot-tall liquid-hydrogen tank from exploding.

Michael Hrycyk, vice president of Duferco human resources, said the fire was a mere 15 feet from the hydrogen tank, which caused a great deal of concern.

“We pumped several million gallons of water on the tank to keep [it] cool,” Hrycyk said.

Hrycyk said Duferco is working with American Air to determine why the truck exploded.

Smalley said the cause of the explosion is still unknown, but said instances such as Sunday’s are “certainly not common occurrences.”

Activities at the mill resumed this morning.

Farrell police and fire had no additional information as of Monday afternoon.