Dad ‘split in half’ after falling in horror into a vat of 1,500C molten iron

Steven Dierkes died immediately after the incident at the Caterpillar Mapleton Foundry, his body snapping in half in front of his colleagues after hitting the scorching hot barrel

Dierkes leaves behind three daughters and his partner
Dierkes leaves behind three daughters and his partner

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

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

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood told the Peoria Journal Star that there was no suspicion of foul play.

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

Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller told The Sun: “We are deeply saddened by the death of an employee on April 2.

It is the second death at the factory in the past six months



“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of this employee.

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

Capt. Chris Watkins of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to the scene around 10 a.m. Thursday, June 2, to respond to an “occupational accident.”

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

Steven Dierkes was killed instantly



An anonymous veteran Caterpillar worker told the World Socialist Web Site that Dierkes was “collecting an iron sample for the Met lab and appears to have just stumbled.”

They said: “He died immediately, but not all of him went in. Part of his body was left on the deck for the coroner to retrieve.

“It must have been horrific for the people who witnessed it to wait for the coroner with half of their colleague on the floor.”

They claimed the incident happened in the foundry’s main smelting area, adding that by 10:20 a.m. all employees had been sent home.

The incident happened at the Caterpillar Mapleton Foundry in Illinois



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 is survived by three daughters and his partner Jessica Sutter. His death comes just six months after another worker, 50-year-old Scott M. Adam, died after falling at the same factory.

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Fry Electronics Team

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