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Two men who were severely burned in an explosion in 2003 were awarded more than $12 million by a jury in Pennsylvania. A two week trial brought closure to the 7-year ordeal that changed the lives of Rudolph Paci and James Sutch. Both men were seriously burned when molten metal exploded, spouted and poured onto them from an Inductothermal furnace while they were working Sept. 2, 2003, at Ametek Specialty Metal Products.

Mr. Paci, who was 38 at the time, suffered burns over 65 percent of his body. He was in a coma and on a respirator with inhalation burns for seven weeks and was given last rites. He had to undergo extensive skin graft surgery and still has not returned to work.

Mr. Sutch has had a less daunting recovery. Nevertheless, had burns over 22 percent of his body. He recovered and returned to work about 18 months later. He was 37 at the time of the accident.

The men and their wives sued Inductotherm Group, the manufacturer of the furnace, claiming a design defect was responsible for the explosion.

Also named as defendants were Allied Minerals of Columbus, Ohio, and Vesuvius USA Corp. of Carnegie, which supplied the ceramic material used to line the furnace. The jury found Inductothermal 50 percent responsible, while Vesuvius and Allied Mineral were each found to be 25 percent responsible. However, because Vesuvius and Allied Mineral both settled before trial, they will not have to pay their portions of the verdict.

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