O’FALLON, Mo. – An intense early Wednesday morning fire destroyed part of a longtime O’Fallon, Missouri business and forced a nearby school to close for the day. It all happened at Bill’s Service Center on Sonderen Street, just off I-70.

The fire started in a large storage building in the back of the property. Authorities told FOX 2 that the building was full of lawnmowers, and that equipment and the building was destroyed in the fire.

Fortunately, the flames were contained to that one building. Crews got the call about 4:40 a.m.

Brian Moore, a Battalion Chief with the O’Fallon Fire Protection District, told FOX 2 flames were already pouring out of the building when crews arrived.

Moore also shared that the owner’s son was in the storage facility around the time when it caught on fire. He was able to get out safely and call 911. Crews from four different departments rushed to the scene.

There were about a dozen pieces of equipment and some 30 firefighters battling the flames, but no injuries were reported.

Fort Zumwalt North Middle School is right next door. It had to close for the day because of the smoke and fire in the area.

FOX 2 spoke with Battalion Chief Moore and a witness about the firefight and the force of the explosions.

“It’s a large structure, and it’s full of lawnmowers according to the owner, gasoline products, possible propane. Yes, we had several large explosions inside the structure while we were attempting to put out the fire,” said Chief Moore.

Peter Jackson was driving home from work when he saw the massive fire. He started recording on his phone and captured one of the explosions.

“Something like maybe a propane tank had exploded in there,” Jackson said. “Put up just enough pressure with me sitting all the way across the street to kind of push me back a little bit, you know, it didn’t exactly knock me back, but I could feel the force of it – really loud boom. And then flames started pouring out of the front of it. And at that point I just wasn’t recording anymore because it kind of amazed me, I didn’t realize it was going to be that big of a boom.”

The rest of the Fort Zumwalt School District is in normal session Wednesday.

The cause for the fire is still under investigation. Among those at the scene, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to make sure there is no hazardous runoff from the gasoline and propane at this site.

FOX 2 will update this story with more information as it becomes available. Our Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX helicopter flew over the scene.