ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Emergency crews responded to a tank explosion Thursday afternoon in Hazelwood, forcing some businesses to evacuate.

A 2,200-gallon liquid asphalt tank caught fire at about 11:30 a.m. near James S. McDonnell Boulevard and Byassee Drive, about 4 miles away from St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Authorities said the tank exploded while workers were trying to move tar at a Hazelwood asphalt business.

“As the product was being offloaded from the tanker, there was a spark that ignited the product inside the tank. They were able to disconnect the rail car from the tank that they were filling and move it away to a safe distance. As the product inside continued to burn, it blew the top off the tank,” said Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Luley.

FOX 2’s Bommarito Automotive group SKYFOX flew over the scene and captured footage of thick black smoke that could be seen for miles. 

“There was an explosion of liquid asphalt,” said Hazelwood Fire Chief Dave Herman. “There were about 8,000 gallons in the tank. It exploded and caught fire. The plume of smoke was so high that you could see it from Maryland heights. It was a lot of fire and a lot of smoke.”

Authorities said the tank exploded near other tanks filled with products used to make the asphalt. Emergency crews were concerned those tanks might explode as well.

“We were able to contain it to one tank. Had other tanks exploded or caught fire, this would have been significantly more devasting. Would have taken more resources,” said Chief Herman.

The St. Louis County Hazmat Team and Department of Natural Resources were called to make sure there were no chemical issues.

The fire chief said there was no danger to surrounding communities. Crews remained on the scene for hours cooling the tanks to make sure there were no more sparks or opportunities for flames.