Stepping up: Port Washington hotel owner makes offer to foundry families

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SAUKVILLE (WITI) -- The president of Johnson Brass is speaking out -- one day after eight of his workers were injured after molten metal splattered inside the Saukville foundry. We've also learned a hotel near the foundry is stepping up for all of the workers at Johnson Brass -- and their families.

Four of the injured workers remain at the burn unit inside Columbia St. Mary's in Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, the president of Johnson Brass says he's deeply saddened by what happened -- and has cut short a business trip to meet with the injured workers.

Lance Johnson, the president of Johnson Brass & Machine Foundry, Inc. has issued this statement to FOX6 News:

"For more than one hundred years my family has taken great pride in our safety record and our close relationship with our employees.

As the fourth president of this family-owned business, I can say we are all deeply saddened by the accident at our plant yesterday.  I am returning tonight from a business trip I cut short in California to meet with the injured workers.

Contrary to earlier press reports, there was no explosion at the plant yesterday.  Instead, a machine malfunctioned spraying liquid metal around the plant floor striking workers in their legs and backs. Eight people were injured. Four of my colleagues remain hospitalized tonight with burns, but we are told none of their injuries are life-threatening.

Several members of my team have already visited them as I hope to do as soon as I return. Johnson Brass is fully cooperating with all local and federal officials investigating the cause of the unfortunate accident.”

Federal investigators are working to determine exactly what happened inside the foundry on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Joseph Zankle, the owner and head chef of the Port Hotel says the hotel is stepping up for the foundry workers.

"This is right in our backyard, so it hits home a lot harder. It was just shock. It really was shock. When you live here for an extended period of time, you get to know everyone, and everybody gets to know you," Zankle said.

Before becoming owner of the Port Hotel, Zankle was affected by the death of his own grandfather, who died at work at his industrial job.

That's one of the things that has led him to offer a free meal for the families affected by what happened.

"I just don't know how else to help," Zankle said.

It's a small gesture, that Zankle hopes will make life a little easier.

Maybe families will take him up on the offer -- or maybe they won't, but what really matters is the community is thinking about those hurt in Saukville on Monday -- and wishing them well.

FOX6 News spoke with one of those injured -- and he says he was told to call on Wednesday to determine when he should go back to work.