Man burned by steam leak

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Demopolis man was transported by helicopter to University of South Alabama Medical Center Monday after receiving serious burns in an accident at the Rock-Tenn paperboard plant.

Employee Steve Thrasher was burned when a steam pipe burst at the plant and seriously burned him, according to reports. A family friend who answered his home phone said Thrasher’s condition was stable as of the last report.

Further attempts to reach Thrasher’s family were unsuccessful.

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Rock-Tenn spokesman David Reese could not confirm or further explain the chain of events that led to Thrasher’s injuries.

“We had an incident at the Demopolis Mill which Rock-Tenn is still investigating,” Reese said Tuesday. “I know there was an accident and (Thrasher) needed immediate medical attention.”

Reese said Rock-Tenn employees are “receiving regular updates” on the Demopolis man’s condition.

“Our focus right now is on ensuring that our employee gets the best possible care and treatment for his injuries,” Reese said.

A serious burn-risk, steam can reach temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, depending on how much pressure it is under.

In operation since 1957, Rock-Tenn’s Demopolis Mill is one of the most efficient producers of pulp and solid bleached sulphate paperboard in North America, according to the company’s Web site.

The products manufactured at the Demopolis Mill are used in packaging, retail, and consumer goods, as well as for trading cards, signage, and other applications. The plant was long owned by Gulf States Paper Co., before it was sold to Rock-Tenn last year.