A man was injured on Friday morning when a fireball reportedly erupted from the basement of Shawn’s Master Auto Repair as the roof collapsed in the 7000 block of Hampton Avenue.
Pam Mead said she and Jeane Garth were working in the auto shop office around 9.40am when they heard a loud bang. Her husband, Shawn Mead, owns the business.
Pam Mead went to the bay where her son, general manager Eric Mead, and three mechanics worked.
“I noticed the ceiling was collapsing and my son was working in the first bay, and he had fallen on top of him,” Pam Mead said. “…It fell on him. I could see it so I went to look for it, and Jeane noticed a ball of fire coming out of the basement.
She said her son saw the same thing, a ball of fire that “shot up out of the basement”.
All six employees were able to exit the building safely, but Eric Mead was slightly injured. Rescuers wrapped his arm at the scene before taking him to hospital for examination.
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“I’m just shaken, very shaken,” Pam Mead said. “Because it’s our business and thank God Eric wasn’t really hurt and no one was killed. It could have been much worse – I mean the building could have collapsed on all of us. I mean we’re all very, very lucky to get out of this.
Hampton Avenue was blocked by emergency vehicles and traffic was rerouted to a neighborhood.
“We are still trying to find the source of the explosion,” said St. Louis Fire Captain Leon Whitener. “Employees here did not report smelling natural gas prior to the explosion.”
At least seven teams from Speyer also responded to the workshop on Friday morning, and Pam Mead noted that a new gas line had recently been installed in the area.