MEHLVILLE, MO — Monday around 2 pm an employee the Home Depot in south St. Louis County noticed a suspicious package in a shopping cart parked in the shopping cart vestibule. The store called the fire department before employees evacuated the store.
When fire crews arrived on the scene, they found a white cloud of smoke and a very strong odor coming from the package.
The St. Louis County Hazardous Materials Team and the Bomb and Arson team was dispatched to the store located in the 7400 block of South Lindbergh Boulevard. They eventually determined that there was not an explosive device.
The scene was then classified as a HAZMAT situation, and the Mehlville Fire Protection District took over the investigation.
It turns out it was an assortment of some household items including a cleaner, all wrapped into one that caused a spontaneous combustion.
“Microfiber towels some rubber gloves and then a substance in the middle much like an old lacquer cleaner kind of an unidentifiable product so we mitigated the problem once we determined what it was, it was no longer dangerous,” said Kent Snelson, Deputy Chief Mehlville Fire Protection District.
Snelson added, there’s a good chance that someone just had happened to have the material in their trunk and threw it in a bag before placing it in a shopping cart. The department does not believe that someone was purposely or deliberately trying to do anything dangerous.