Praxair Distribution announced that it plans to start interim operations at its industrial gases facility on Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, while it continues to work with the City of St. Louis on locating an alternate site.

Praxair has not conducted any business at the site since a major fire occurred there on the afternoon of Friday, 24 June. The fire is believed to have been caused by a mechanical failure on a gas cylinder, possibly as the result of a malfunctioning safety relief valve. Praxair does not manufacture cylinders or valves.

Wayne Yakich, president of Praxair Distribution, said: “Praxair will be implementing certain additional operating precautions at this site to ensure that there cannot be another incident of this kind. These have been made as the result of a careful review of all aspects of the fire as well as a thorough safety review.”

“Now that the site has been cleaned and debris removed from the surrounding areas, Praxair is ready to begin repairing the Chouteau facility with work on the roof, the offices and other areas of the property. Once we have a building permit, repair work can be completed in six to eight weeks and the facility will then be ready for renewed operations.

“The plan to resume operations at Chouteau Ave. is dictated by the fact that it will take at least 12-18 months to establish a new facility after an alternate site is identified.”