Man Meets A Tragic Fate In A Vat Of Lava

An Illinois man died in early June after falling into a vat of molten iron.

Steven Dierkes worked at the Caterpillar foundry in Mapleton where he fell into a crucible of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit molten iron. Only half of the 39-year-old’s body was found lying on the floor, according to the Peoria County coroner.

The Sheriff’s office, coroner’s office, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still investigating the incident, though foul play is not suspected.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of an employee who was involved in a serious incident at our Mapleton, Illinois, facility on June 2,” Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Millar said. “Our thoughts are with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues. The safety of our employees, contractors, and visitors is our top priority.”

An anonymous employee said that just before 10 am, Dierkes was “taking a sample of iron for the met lab and apparently just tripped.”

“He died instantly, but not all of him went in. Part of his body remained on the deck for the coroner to retrieve. It must have been ghastly for those folks that witnessed it and to wait for the coroner with half of their coworker lying on the floor,” the worker said.

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