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Two firefighters injured near site of chemical leak in St. Louis

Two firefighters injured near site of chemical leak in St. Louis


UPDATED at 12:15 p.m. with additional detail

ST. LOUIS — Two firefighters and another person were injured at the site of a chemical leak Tuesday morning.

The leak was at Paulo, a thermal processing plant at 5711 West Park Avenue.

The firefighters were called there about 8 a.m. with a hazardous-materials team after a reported ammonia leak. They were trying to shut off the valve.

"They got into the fumes," said fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson.

One firefighter suffered chemical burns on his legs from the vapors, and he was taken to the burn unit at SSM Mercy Hospital. The other firefighter suffered chemical burns on his ears and was being treated at a hospital.

Jenkerson characterized their burns as mild to moderate.

Another person, a man Jenkerson referred to as a civilian, suffered minor inhalation injuries. That man was hired by Paulo to service the ammonia tank.

A Post-Dispatch photographer saw the two firefighters hosed off and stripped of their gear before being taken away in an ambulance. They were able to walk to the ambulance for treatment.

The neighborhood, known as Cheltenham, wasn't evacuated, just the business. Jenkerson said crews went door to door in the neighborhood and told residents to stay inside as the fumes dissipated.

Laurie Skrivan of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed to this report.

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