Seven injured after machine failure at Saukville foundry

CREATED May 19, 2014 - UPDATED: May 20, 2014

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UPDATE: Emergency crews originally thought they were responding to an explosion, but police said Tuesday that wasn't the case.

Saukville police said it appears there was a catastrophic failure of a piece of machinery which casued molten metal to be thrown around the foundry area. This caused a small fire.

Four of the victims are being treated at Columbia Saint Mary's. The other three were sent to other area hospitals and are believed to have been released.

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SAUKVILLE - An explosion and fire injures seven workers at a Saukville Foundry. Two Flight For Life Helicopters were called along with several ambulances.

The Fire Chief called it a freak accident. A foundry worker said it was a fluke.

State and federal investigators are trying to learn more about what caused the explosion that sent seven workers to the hospital.

As fire crews rushed to the scene, so did Steve Chrzanowski’s wife.

“I was worried about him being dead,” said Ashley Chrzanowski.

She had good reason to worry – her husband was nearby when fire and molten metal sent workers scrambling.

“I seen an explosion and all of sudden I’m going over to there to help people out,” said Steve.

Seven guys needed help with severe to minor injuries. Some knocked off their feet by the explosion. Steve was not injured.     

“Couple guys on the floor, couple of guys running around with fire extinguishers trying to get gas lines shut off,” said Steve.   

Foundry workers were pouring 2,100 degree metal when something went terribly wrong near quitting time.

We did have an explosion, said Saukville Fire Chief Gilly Schultz.

Investigators don’t know what caused the explosion. OSHA is also on the scene. 

Johnson Brass has been a family owned business for four generations.

“We haven’t had any problems with the company,” said Fire Chief Schultz, “It’s a very conscientious company. No problems whatsoever. It was a freak accident.”

Steve Chrzanowski agrees. But as he leaves hand and hand with his wife he hopes his co workers will be okay.

“It was just a fluke of an accident - just one of those things.”