St. Louis fire captain urge residents to stay in place, turn off HVAC system

ST. LOUIS – “I live in Compton Heights which is about 15 blocks away and it was in my house, in my garage and in the air throughout the land that I have,” Nathan Goldberg said.

As St. Louis firefighters continue to battle the blaze at Park Warehouse Services, the smoke that now fills the air is becoming more and more of a concern for residents like Nathan Goldberg who lives close by.

“It concerns me because it didn’t smell right at all,” he said. “I’ve been coughing, my chest is not tighten up as far as I know but I’ve been coughing.”

“The smoke is inherently dangerous and poisons,” Captain Garon Mosby said.

Nearly 150,000 citronella candles, along with a host of other things burned into nightfall creating a cloud full of hazardous toxins.

It’s still unclear exactly what toxins are in that cloud of smoke, but Captain Garon Mosby is urging everyone near the fire in South St. Louis to be cautious.

“If your home is in the path of this, it’s probably a good idea to shut down your heating and cooling system,” he said. “Don’t pull this into your home.”

That same warning goes for St. Louis University and Cardinal Glennon Children’s hospital.

Earlier today, I’m told their HVAC systems were closed and visitors were offered dust mask as the smoke blankets the area.

“These are not good gases,” Mosby said. “Nothing good comes from these fires as far as toxins and smoke anyway. If you are in your home, shelter in place. If you are out and about, don’t venture down here, don’t walk out it’s just not a smart idea.”

The fire captain released a statement tonight saying,

“Addressing the smoke plume concerns more specifically. A byproduct of combustion is the production of any number of chemicals.  A great majority of these chemicals will evaporate into the atmosphere.  Our greatest concern is the potential for the chemicals to become an inhalation irritant, particularly to those with compromised respiratory concerns.  We reiterate the need to reduce exposure to the smoke. If your home is in the path of the smoke plume, keep your windows closed and discontinue the usage of your HVAC system to reduce the amount of smoke drawn into your home.”