Dad ‘Split in Half’ after Falling at Work

A man was killed instantly at work after tripping and falling into a vat of molten iron which was almost 1,500C.

Steven Dierkes, 39, was left with half his body lying on the factory floor at the Caterpillar Mapleton Foundry in Illinois last Thursday.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood was reported in the Peoria Journal Star as saying that foul play was not suspected.

Dierkes, a father of three, died after tripping next to the vat of 2,600F (1,427C) iron, which he was, the Daily Star reported, taking a sample from.

Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller told The Sun: “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.

“Our thoughts are with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues.

“The safety of our employees, contractors and visitors is our top priority.”

Peoria County Sheriff’s Office Capt Chris Watkins said that deputies were called to the scene at around 10am on Thursday June 2 to respond to an “occupational accident”.

Peoria County Coroner’s office, the Sheriff’s Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still investigating the tragedy.

An anonymous veteran Caterpillar worker, speaking to the World Socialist Web Site, said Dierkes “was taking a sample of iron for the met lab and apparently just tripped”.

They said: “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 co-worker lying on the floor.”

They claimed the incident occurred in the main foundry melting area, adding that by 10.20am all employees had been sent home.

An obituary for Dierkes remembers him as “a hard-working teddy bear of a man with calloused hands and a tender heart” who “would have done anything for anyone”.

He leaves behind three daughters and partner Jessica Sutter, with his death coming just six months after another worker, 50-year-old Scott M Adam, died after falling at the same factory.

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