The role weather played in Thursday’s chemical plant fire and emergency response


AFFTON, Mo- The Thursday fire at the Manor Chemical plant in South St. Louis County which caused explosions and evacuations is still under investigation, but is believed to have started due to an electrical short.

Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX was up over the scene showing exclusive video of plumes of smoke billowing into the air right in Shelly Pierson’s back yard, as she and her neighbors were evacuated on Birkenhead Drive.

Yesterday’s weather played a vital role in evacuation plans and the strategic plan to combat the fire.
“We were very fortunate, Brigit, that that smoke was blowing the right way,” says Fire Chief Nick Fahs. “If the wind would have been blowing in a different direction it would blow into the neighborhood that we were trying to protect. “

Yesterday’s northwest winds helping, but if there was a shift, like winds out of the southwest, the strategy changes entirely.

“We might have even asked them to shelter in place cause that smoke was pretty dense.”

Another consideration… temperature.

“If it would have been 100 degrees out we might have needed 2-3 times that many people to make that happen.”

Even with mild temperatures, one firefighter had to be treated for exhaustion. The heat inside the fire? Intense.

“That building was probably few 1,000 degrees.”

Luckily with the winds…. The neighborhood just behind the plant was not exposed to heavy smoke. Authorities say there are no risks to the residents moving forward. The three employees inside the plant at the time of the fire are all ok.

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