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Fire, explosions rock south St. Louis company, neighborhood

Hundreds of tanks burn following a fire and explosion at the Praxair Company in St. Louis on Friday afternoon. Debris was thrown for blocks as tanks exploded. (UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt

By AP/Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis – There were no injuries from a massive fire and series of explosions at a gas-processing plant south of downtown St. Louis Friday.

Firefighters from surrounding cities helped to quell the flames at the Praxair Distribution plant.

A five-block area around the Lafayette Square area was evacuated.

Praxair spokeswoman Susan Gore says about 70 people work at the plant, packaging gases into cylinders for welders and similar customers.

Gore doesn't know how many people were on the job when the fire broke out shortly after 3 p.m., but she says everyone got out safely.

The three-alarm fire sent fireballs more than 50 feet into the air.

Dark, thick smoke towered over the site and forced police to shut down nearby Interstate 64 (Highway 40). Crews are still monitoring the air for any dangerous particles.

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