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Fire injures an employee at Spectro Alloys

One employee was injured early Tuesday morning when a payloader caught fire at Rosemount aluminum recycler Spectro Alloys.

Fire chief Scott Aker said it appears the fire started when aluminum being poured into a smelter exploded. While the incident is still being investigated, Aker said they suspect a piece of ice or snow was in with the load of metal being poured into the smelter. When the ice hit the molten metal it turned to steam, expanded and caused an explosion.

Molten metal sprayed the pay loader and the person operating the vehicle.

Police chief Gary Kalstabakken identified the person injured as Jacob Denn, 20, of Hastings. A co-worker drove Denn, who suffered burns, to a clinic in Apple Valley which then sent him, by ambulance, for treatment at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Assistant fire chief Jim Voelker said Denn has been released and is recovering at home.

Fire crews responded to the incident shortly after 12:30 a.m. Voelker said Rosemount firefighters had the fire extinguished within an hour. Firefighters from Apple Valley were on standby to cover any other Rosemount fire calls.

Rosemount fire marshal John Kendall is investigating the fire.

Spectro Alloys is an aluminum smelting facility that serves foundries throughout the Midwest. The plant is located at 13220 Doyle Path, near Highway 55 in rural Rosemount.

Another Spectro employee was injured in October of 2008 when there was an explosion in the company's shredding bin.

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