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Explosion kills man at famed Alpine bronze casting business

Published July 12, 2012 5:52 pm

NFL, NBA • Adonis Bronze has cast the John Stockton statue, busts for Elway and Marino.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Alpine • An explosion Thursday at a bronze sculpting business killed a man.

Richardo Flores, 41, of Pleasant Grove, was an employee at Adonis Bronze, which has cast statues and busts of sports and religious figures.

Three other people were taken to a hospital after they inhaled steam, said Lone Peak Fire District Assistant Chief Spencer Edwards. He said the three tried to help Flores after the explosion. The three employees have since been released from a hospital.

The explosion happened about 12:30 p.m. at Adonis Bronze, 450 S. Alpine Highway. Edwards said Flores was placing a ceramic and wax sculpture into a spherical-shaped vessel. The vessel had a diameter between 5 and 6 feet.

A boiler spews steam into the vessel to remove excess materials from the sculpture and to create bronze. For some reason, the vessel exploded, Edwards said. No one reported flames, but the concussion killed the employee.

Edwards said investigators are trying to learn why the explosion occurred, and will continue to investigate Friday by dismantling the vessel.

Dana Boshard works at Global Speed of Trust, next door to Adonis Bronze.

"The explosion shook all of our windows," she said. "I don't know how they didn't shatter."

Adonis Bronze may be best known in Utah for the foundry that cast the John Stockton sitting statue outside EnergySolutions Arena. The company also has made busts for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including those for Steve Young, Dan Marino and John Elway.

Adonis Bronze also cast the Veterans Memorial at Taylorsville City Hall and a statue of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

mappelgate@sltrib.com