Praxair experienced a major explosion at their cylinder filling and distribution facility in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday. As of yet no explanation has been give to the cause of the fire, which has resulted in the evacuation of all employees of the plant and nearby residents. All Praxair plant employees are accounted for and no injuries occurred.

The St. Louis plant is a cylinder filling and distribution facility for cylinder gases including acetylene used for welding, oxygen for medical purposes, nitrogen for food freezing, propane for home use cooking and speciality gases for laboratory calibration.

The fire spread quickly providing spectacular fire balls up to 100 ft high as gas tanks exploded sending fire and debris around the plant and the neighbouring streets resulting in residents car catching alight. One resident said the initial explosion sounded like a bomb had gone off.

Fire fighters were forced to stay a block away from the facility where they used ladder-mounted hoses to pour water on one of the densest fires.

\\$quot;It's a highly volatile situation with these gases on site. What they need to do is just let this take its course, monitor the perimeter and then let it cool down,\\$quot; Francis Slay, St Louis Mayor said.

\\$quot;We are monitoring the air at various locations to make sure there are no hazardous particles and so far there aren't any,\\$quot; Mayor Slay added.

An emergency response team consisting of senior leaders has headed to the scene and an intensive investigation will be held.

For further information:
Investigation continues into Praxair explosion
Explosion leaves asbestos behind