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BETHLEHEM STEEL'S SPARROWS POINT PLANT RE-STARTS SERVICE AFTER FIRE

 SPARROWS POINT, Md., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The No. 1 halogen tinplating line at the Sparrows Point Division of Bethlehem Steel re- started today, 40 days after being damaged by fire, said Carl W. Johnson, vice president of operations.
 "Operating and maintenance employees pitched in together and were able to get the line running in less time than we initially thought possible," Johnson said. "Our employees recognized the importance of the line to our customers and brought it back quickly. The project was a team effort.
 "Suppliers realized our sense of urgency and were able to expedite the delivery of replacement equipment."
 Johnson said customers have been cooperative in working with the mill and arranging to utilize inventories or re-schedule deliveries. Production on the No. 2 halogen line, adjacent to No. 1, was increased to help accommodate customer needs.
 The three-alarm fire started at 11 p.m., Dec. 10 and continued for several hours. An employee spotted a red glow coming from a tank in the line's basement and called for fire extinguishers. The fire spread so rapidly, however, that attempts to use hand extinguishers were in vain.
 The building was evacuated as fire consumed the plating section of the line. The exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined and an investigation is continuing.
 Employees began cleaning up debris and working to rebuild the line in the early morning hours of Dec. 11. The three-story high plating section was sandblasted and repainted. New plating cells were installed and motors were cleaned and rebuilt. About 25,000 feet of electrical wiring was replaced. The repairs cost several million dollars, the company said.
 When the fire occurred, the plating line was within three days of re-starting after having been out of service for about 20 days for a second phase of a major 1992 rebuilding project.
 -0- 1/19/93
 /CONTACT: Ted Baldwin, of Bethlehem Steel -- Sparrows Point Division, 410-388-6077/
 (BS)


CO: Bethlehem Steel Corporation -- Sparrows Point Division ST: Maryland IN: MNG SU:

MJ-JS -- PH034 -- 6544 01/19/93 16:25 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 19, 1993
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