Hazmat crews were called and Clayton road was closed for nearly two hours near Albarre Jewlery shop at 9711 Clayton Road yesterday when the owner of the shop knocked over a container of a dangerous chemical, sodium cyanide. Once used for cleaning jewelry, the chemical is no longer used because if inhaled or contacted with skin, it can be lethal.
The St. Louis County Hazmat team and responders from the cities of Ladue, Frontenac, West Overland and Creve Coeur were on the scene yesterday.
Fire chief Eric Hinson was contacted today, but was unavailable for comments.
Ameren Missouri cut electricity to the building when the spill occurred. It was restored back to service at 3:56 p.m.
Jim Rhodes from the Division of Natural Resources stated that a call was taken by Cory Jorgensen but DNR did not feel the need to send crews out because the scene was already handled by St. Louis Hazmat team and Albarre Jewlery had already hired a reputable environmental company to handle the spill.
Holli Dobbs, employee for Albarre Jewlery said, “The business was closed for five hours. We are very grateful to Ladue police and fire departments and the St. Louis Hazmat team.” She stated that they are not sure if fines will be incurred as a result of the incident.
The building which housed Albarre Jewlery and a few other businesses was evacuated. Among the evacuations was Nicole’s Salon.
Owner, Pete Nettle said, “It was very stressful for me I can tell you that. My manager Steve Smith took the bull by the horns and helped out."
His clients were asked to leave the building immediately regardless of the fact that they had hair color on their hair. Nettle acted quickly and made arrangements to use a vacant salon, Clayton Place Salon, located across the street. Nettle said he was grateful to the landlord. “She was kind enough to let us use that salon.” All appointments for the rest of the day were cancelled.
Schools in the immediate area, Ladue Middle School, Ladue High School and Conway Elementary School were advised to take an alternate route home from school. School authorities sent out a connected message to parents of students stating what happened and asking for alternate accommodations for picking up students from school.
Susan Dielmann Director of Communications at Ladue School District stated, “One of our concerns was getting kids home from school that walk home.” Originally the school was told it would take about 2-3 hours to get the spill cleaned up and reopen the street. In actuality, it happened faster than planned. The street was reopened just after the message to parents went out.
Dielmann said, “It is better to err on the side of caution. Parents did not complain (that they were informed and the street reopened quicker than expected). The school was never in danger. Middle School activities were cancelled because of traffic issues.”
Dielmann said in hindsight it was a good exercise and practice for an emergency situation should they be called upon to respond to an emergency in the future. She said everything went smoothly.