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American Caterpiller Worker Dies after falling into vat of molten iron

A 39-year-old Caterpiller worker, Steven Dierkes died after falling into a molten iron vat of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit molten, leaving half of his body lying on the floor.

Steven Dierkes, of Illinois, died instantly after he was presumably working alongside a crucible when he fell in, according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.

Harwood said the Thursday incident – which took place at the Caterpillar Mapleton Foundry – was accidental and no foul play is suspected, the Peoria Journal Star reports.

According to the report, Deputies were called to the facility around 10 a.m. on Thursday morning in regards to an “occupational accident,” Peoria County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Chris Watkins said.

Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller released the following statement to 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.”

Dierkes’ death remains under investigation by the Peoria County Coroner’s office, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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