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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Foam Factory Fire Getting Under Control

Aired January 16, 2003 - 10:49   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Back now to coverage of that fire that we saw burning this morning in St. Louis in an industrial area there. The street address, in case those of you just now joining us want to know, it was 134 Branch Street (ph) in the industrial area there in St. Louis near I-70. And as you can see here, that was a fire that totally engulfed this building. This building was the Diversified Foam factory. That's F-O-A-M.
All we have heard so far is that this fire started sometime this morning around 8:00 Central time, which would be 9:00 a.m. Eastern, and it didn't take very long for this fire to totally engulf this building. We're joined now on the phone by -- actually, live by Steve Jankowski of our affiliate KSDK who is there covering that fire this morning -- hey, Steve, what's the word?

STEVE JANKOWSKI, KSDK CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Leon, the fire -- you can see from the white smoke, that is probably the first good news firefighters have had this morning in the last hour and a half.

This fire started at about 8:00 this morning when some of the people were reporting for work. We are told there was one civilian injury, one person with minor injuries who may have been trying to put this fire out when they first got here.

One firefighter told me that may have hindered the efforts to get firefighters to the scene a little bit faster. This fire has been spectacular. This is a two building, three-story warehouse complex, Diversified Foam and Plastics, and you -- maybe in some of the video that we fit in earlier.

This place makes foam products, so there was a lot of accelerants and flammable materials inside this building, which helped just fuel this flame. Also, the flames were being pushed along by some 10 to 15 to 20 mile per hour winds blowing out of the north, which has moved the flames from the north end of the building to the south side of the building.

Now, we have video that you probably have ready to go with the building collapsing. And you can see this from the heat just eroding the mortar and the brick, the walls coming down, just collapsing across the street, snapping the power lines, destroying transformers, knocking out power from some of the nearby buildings.

One hundred and twenty-five firefighters on the scene battling the fire. They expect to be here throughout the day. The fire now has collapsed into the building, a few of the walls still standing. And again, the white smoke indicative of the fact that the fire is at least being knocked down to the point where fire fighters might be able to get in and get a little bit closer look.

The fire at this point is of an undetermined nature. They don't believe it's suspicious, but the fire is under investigation. Again, we're live here at Branch (ph) near Broadway. Joe Young, the photographer and I shooting the video of this fire, starting at 8:00, one minor injury.

Reporting live in St. Louis, Steve Jankowski for CNN.

HARRIS: All right. Good deal. Thanks, Steve.

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