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Five years since the Praxair explosion

June 24, 2010 Neighborhoods 6 Comments

Five years ago today the normally quiet Lafayette Square neighborhood was rocked by a massive explosion at the Praxair industrial gas facility on Chouteau:

ST. LOUIS – A blaze at an industrial plant sent huge fireballs shooting into the sky Friday afternoon, casting a towering cloud of black smoke over the area as traffic backed up and nearby residents evacuated their homes.

There were no injuries, St. Louis Fire Chief Sherman George said. There also was no word on the cause of the rapid-fire series of spectacular explosions at Praxair Distribution, which processes propane and other gases for industrial use.  (Source)

Video from a nearby resident:

Today the building and site remain vacant.  The 4 acre site, located at 2210 Chouteau, is listed for $2,250,000.

ABOVE: the burned out structure remains
ABOVE: the burned out structure remains

Nearby residents started Praxair Watch to oppose the reopening of the facility.

The 2.105 acre site to the east is listed for $750,000.  Between the two sites is a former street, Mackay Place:

ABOVE: the former Mackay Place with the Praxair site on the right
ABOVE: the former Mackay Place with the Praxair site on the right

This former street is owned by the same limited liability corporation that owns the site to the east.

The Praxair explosion was featured on an episode of the History Channel’s Modern Marvels as an “engineering disaster.”

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    I understand why the neighbors would not want Praxair to reopen, but how happy are they with the vacant land and building, 5 years later? $3M for 6 acres seems to be pretty optomistic. Is the LLC looking to protect / maximize their investment, or are they trying to stick it to the neighbors and the city?

    • A development was proposed a few years ago but when the economy tanked so did the project. The planned project was for sale residences on the high end — that market doesn't exist anymore. They'd probably oppose anything including rentals units.

    • Chris says:

      My experience with nuisance properties is that I would take a vacant lot over the nuisance.

  2. GMan262 says:

    I always thought Praxair sounded like a Kilingon company.

  3. aaronlevi says:

    when this happened, i assumed it was an intentional “accident” so that praxair could be moved and a high end development put in its place. maybe i was wrong?

  4. Tpekren says:

    Actually think it was a missed opportunity at the end of the day. The city has ample industrial space and the infrastructure to have relocated Praxair while freeing up space within the Lafayette District for more residential/mixed use. The current market is against developing the site in the immediate future. However, would like to know the details on why or how the city couldn't keep a decent size industrial employer in the city. Especially a nationwide company that has the ample resources to rebuild such a facility on top of the funds they probably recovered from the insurance claim.

    In other words, I get the impression that the baby was thrown out with the bathwater when Lafayette Square residents had an opportunity to kick out Praxair from the area.


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