PUEBLO, Colo. - Retired steel workers who worked at the old Colorado Fuel and Iron Company had their annual reunion Saturday.
This is the 32nd time the Blast Furnace Reunion Committee had its reunion.
The blast furnace was used to turn iron ore into steel.
"They couldn't do without us. They couldn't make steel back then without that iron. They needed that iron ore we produced," retired steel worker Torrence Neal said.
The furnace was taken down in 1982. It was replaced by an electric one.
The committee said hundreds of jobs were lost when that happened and that's why workers come together for a reunion.
Lee Guerrero doesn't forget his memories at the furnace.
"It was very interesting. It was hot, noisy, sulfur smell like the Fourth of July. Sometimes it could get 240 degrees in there," he said.
Neal remembers the dangers.
"We've had molten metal all around us. I've had a couple missteps, I almost burned my foot off, but I lived through it," he said.
Despite the challenges, people at the event wouldn't trade their experiences for anything.
"The work was hard, dirty and hot. We still enjoyed it, because it was like a family," Neal said.
The Steelworks Center of the West will have a blast furnace worker statue put up outside the museum in November that honors the steel workers.