Welder dies while working at Gary steel mill

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Jonathan Arizzola (WLS)

A 30-year-old welder died Friday while working at the Gary Works steel mill in northwest Indiana, the largest steel mill in North America.

Jonathan Arizzola was a Navy veteran and father of two sons, the youngest of whom turned age 5 on Tuesday. He was working in the hot strip mill area when the fatal incident occurred, according to a U.S. Steel spokesperson.

On Saturday, his wife voiced concerns about working conditions at the Indiana steel plant where he died.

"I don't want anyone else to go through this. It's not fair and it's not right," said Whitney Arizzola, who was married to Jonathan Arizzola for seven years.

Whitney Arizzola said her husband, who worked at the Gary facility for four years, putting in about 70 to 90 hours a week fixing and welding overhead cranes at the metal works plant.

"People shouldn't be forced to work, risk not coming home and the kids not having a dad," Whitney Arizzola said.

The incident is still under investigation.

"They didn't tell me how he died, they just told me he was gone," Whitney Arizzola said.

Meanwhile, union officials said layoffs and cost-cutting measures made by the company have made the mill unsafe.

On Saturday, Rodney D. Lewis Sr., president of United Steelworks Local 1014 posted a statement about the accident on the union's Facebook page which read, in part,: "While all the details are being sorted out one thing is indisputable: this is horrible news and this young man who was a Husband, a Brother, and a Father, didn't make it home last night. "

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