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Explosions reported at south St. Louis city auto repair shop

The west side of the building collapsed, and only one injury was reported.

ST. LOUIS — The entire backside of south St. Louis auto repair shop collapsed Friday morning after an explosion inside the building.

St. Louis firefighters were called to Shawn's Master Auto Repair on the 7000 block of Hampton Avenue just before 10 a.m.

When they arrived, shop employees pointed them to an explosion and a fireball shooting up from the building's basement, which caused the west side of the building to come down.

Erik Mead, the owner’s son, suffered minor injuries to his arm. Some of the bricks fell on him as he tried to get out.

Mead told 5 On Your Side that he was in a service bay welding when the explosion happened.

Credit: UPI
A member of the St. Louis Fire Department Fire Investigative Unit, walks through the rubble after an explosion destroyed an auto repair shop in St. Louis on Friday, April 1, 2022. One minor injury was reported after a worker was cut after welding on a vehicle. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

A St. Louis Fire Department spokesman confirmed that none of the five other employees or one customer inside the business was hurt.

Capt. Leon Whitener said employees indicated that the only thing stored in the basement were oil tanks.

“Those oil tanks will still need an ignition source, and that’s what we’re looking to find right now,” Whitener said.

Crews from Spire, the utility that provides natural gas to the St. Louis area, were also on scene. A spokesperson for the company said the spark was not related to natural gas.

That was a relief to the people who live near the shop.

"Everything has been checked out and everything is safe—the fire department, the gas company, they've all checked out," said Janet Strange, who lives adjacent to the shop.

Mead added that the family has insurance and planned to rebuild.

The family-run shop has operated since 2004.

They experienced another fire in 2020.

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