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12 Hurt in Mass. Foundry Explosion

February 26, 1999

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ An explosion ripped through a metal foundry Thursday, injuring at least 12 people, some with burns covering up to 90 percent of their body.

The explosion at the Jahn Foundry leveled a two-story section in the rear of the building and blew cinder blocks about 60 yards away, fire department spokesman Bernie Welz said.

Eleven victims were taken to Baystate Medical Center with burns covering 50 percent to 90 percent of their bodies, hospital spokesman Keith O’Connor said. The 12th victim, who also suffered burns, was taken to Mercy Hospital.

About 180 people work in the building, which makes brake liners for cars and other metal parts.

The explosion, which occurred about 2:45 p.m., was confined to the foundry and the fire was quickly extinguished, Welz said. The cause was not immediately known.

Workers said they heard a blast before everything went dark in the building.

``I have a hearing problem and it sounded just like a bomb going off,″ said Gus Costa, a foreman who was working about 50 feet from the site of the explosion.

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