Explosion rocks steel mill in Burns Harbor, no injuries reported

An explosion rocked a steel mill in northwest Indiana on Tuesday afternoon, rattling nearby residents and producing a plume of smoke visible miles away, though no one was injured, officials said.

Residents and business owners said the explosion at the Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor steel mill shook their homes and shops about 12 p.m. CT. Burns Harbor is 50 miles southeast of Chicago.

The blast could be felt as far away as Portage, and a plume of reddish brown smoke was visible as far away as Chesterton, a few miles away.


A Cleveland-Cliffs spokesperson told FOX 32 News the blast took place in a slag pit at the mill along the Lake Michigan lakeshore in Porter County. Steel slag is a molten liquid byproduct of the steelmaking process, and it is taken to pits where it solidifies as it cools.

The spokesperson said the explosion resulted in a minor fire that was extinguished quickly.

United Steelworkers Local 6787 President Pete Trinidad said no one was injured "and everything is under control."

The Burns Harbor mill is Cleveland-Cliffs’ second-largest U.S. facility, and can produce almost 5 million net tons of raw steel per year, according to the company’s website. The fully-integrated mill operates two blast furnaces and primarily produces hot-rolled, cold-rolled and hot-dip galvanized steel products.

The Associated Press contribute to this report.