Two foundry workers died Friday of burns suffered in a furnace explosion that sprayed chunks of 2,600-degree molten metal, burning off clothing and flesh.
Seventeen other employees were injured in the blast early Thursday at Dalton Foundries.
Five remained hospitalized Friday, three of them in critical condition with burns over 20 percent to 70 percent of their bodies at St. Joseph Medical Center in Fort Wayne, about 40 miles from the foundry. The two others were in fair condition.
The dead workers were identified as Robert Wells, 41, and John Parker, 45.
The explosion was triggered by moisture that seeped into the furnace from a ruptured water line. “Putting water on it is like putting dynamite on it,” Fire Chief Ken Shepherd said.