ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A Botanical Heights neighborhood warehouse continues to burn Thursday.
Shortly after 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, firefighters reported a partial collapse of the Park Warehouse Service building in the 3900 block of Park Avenue, where at least 100 firefighters were working to extinguish a five-alarm fire that began more than an hour earlier.
A fire department pumper truck was damaged when a portion of the building collapsed. No firefighters were inside the truck when the damaged occurred. The department said the truck was purchased in 2004 and cost about $750,000 but is estimated to cost nearly $1 million to replace in 2017.
“It was making like a rocket jet noise and when that happened you could see the roof separate from the outside of the wall, then you could see the flames and the whole wall just came down,” a witness of the collapse said. “I was 30 feet away from it, if it wasn’t for the fire truck sitting there we probably would’ve got debris on us.”
Wednesday afternoon, fire department officials said, in vague detail, the fire contains hazardous material. They have been advising people to avoid breathing in the smoke. Initially, it was reported there were drums of magnesium in the basement of the fire, but that was later deemed to be inaccurate. Fire department spokesman Garon Mosby said details were still unavailable about what materials may be burning and advised residents to shelter in place and turn off their HVAC units. That limit on HVAC units was lifted on Thursday.
Authorities said they are also concerned about lung irritation from the smoke plume.
The Shriners of St. Louis saidtoys meant for the Shriners’ Hospital Christmas party
were inside the building. The warehouse also housed more 150,000 citronella candles, Styrofoam andthousands of books from Reedy Press
Local authors getting ready for book signings and holiday sales said the fire will be devastating for the gift-giving season. Most of the authors are St. Louis based. The employees of Reedy Press are safe.
In total, authorities said four people, including two firefighters, were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation and released.
Mosby told News 4 there was no immediate threat to surrounding buildings.
According to fire officials, plastics in the basement of the warehouse caught fire.
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