Six injured in explosion at Knoxville steel mill, one critical

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Six people were injured during an explosion Thursday night at a Knoxville steel mill.

Gerdeau Ameristeel confirms one person was seriously injured and is being treated at a regional burn center. Five others, who had minor injuries, were treated and released from the hospital last night.

We have confirmed the name of the man who was critically injured. His name is Larry Releford. Releford was transferred to Vanderbilt Burn Unit in Nashville with burns on 55% of his body. Releford is a graduate of West High School.

The explosion happened around 8:40 p.m. at Gerdau Ameristeel Mill on Tennessee Ave.

The company melts down scrap metal and turns it into rebar.

Fire officials say an explosion occurred at some point during that process but could not say when exactly.

There were no visible flames when firefighters arrived and the injured were taken to the front gate to be transported to the hospital.

Neighbors we talked to on the scene say the explosion could be heard several blocks away.


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