ST. LOUIS - A massive warehouse fire is considered under control and is still being monitored by firefighters as it continues to smolder more than 24 hours after the fire sparked.
A warning from firefighters for nearby residents to turn off their HVAC systems due to potentially hazardous smoke has also been lifted.
Wednesday morning, the fire broke out at Park Warehousing Services on the 3900 block of Park Avenue.
About an hour later, a side of the building collapsed, crushing a firetruck. Prior to the collapse, firefighters were asked to evacuated the building.
A spokesperson for the fire department estimated the 13-year-old truck to cost nearly $1 million. In 2004, the truck cost $750,000.
An employee of the warehouse and a firefighter were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. The firefighter was released Wednesday night.
Between 80 and 100 firefighters were called in to help fight the fire. Toys intended for children at Shriners Hospital, 150,000 17-ounce citronella candles, car seats and Styrofoam were among the items destroyed in the fire.
Wednesday afternoon, Captain Garon Mosby said the smoke from the fire was considered hazardous. Officials monitored the air quality and asked everyone in the area, including nearby hospitals, to turn off their HVAC systems. That warning was lifted Thursday afternoon.
Statement from St. Louis Fire Department on smoke plume
“Addressing the smoke plume concerns more specifically. A byproduct of combustion is the production of any number of chemicals. A great majority of these chemicals will evaporate into the atmosphere. Out greatest concern is the potential for the chemicals to become an inhalation irritant, particularly to those with compromised respiratory concerns. We reiterate the need to reduce exposure to the smoke. If your homes in the path of the smoke plume, keep your windows closed and discontinue the usage of you HVAC system to reduce the amount of smoke drawn into your home”
Statement from the EPA
EPA Region 7 in Lenexa, Kan. has received a request for federal assistance the afternoon of Nov. 16 from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to sample debris resulting from a warehouse fire at 3937 Park Avenue, St. Louis, Mo. that began the morning of Nov. 15. The City of St. Louis Fire Department and Department of Health have concerns that the debris might contain asbestos.
EPA on-scene coordinators and contractors will work with the St. Louis Fire Department to begin a debris assessment and bulk debris sampling on Friday morning, Nov. 17 in areas deemed safe by fire department officials.
Incredible work by members of @STLFireDept battling warehouse fire. They demonstrated the bravery and commitment of the firefighters around the state. Injuries and damage would have been far worse if not for their work.— Eric Greitens (@EricGreitens) November 16, 2017
Firefighters warn smoke could be dangerous