Downtown St. Louis warehouse fire sparks hazmat scare

An explosion at an abandoned warehouse in St. Louis, Missouri, is being blamed for a five-alarm fire that destroyed the six-story building and prompted a hazardous materials scare in the downtown neighborhood.

KTVI News reports that approximately 200 firefighters and a hazmat crew were called into the scene around 11 a.m. on December 6 as the fire burned out of control at the old Crunden Martin Manufacturing Company complex on South Second Street.

According to the news agency, firefighters did an initial sweep of the building following reports that someone was trapped inside, but had to retreat due to hazardous conditions. Protective gear including the Polycarbonate Face Shield from Impact Absorbents are often used by hazmat crews to help clean up potentially dangerous chemicals.

Fire officials said it’s still unclear how the blaze started, but they think the explosion may have been from an old tank inside the former metal goods manufacturing facility. The company used to make helmets, stoves, buckets and gasoline containers for the U.S. military between 1891 and 1990.

Most of the fire was contained to the top two floors of the building. There were no reports of any serious injuries. 

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