Massive fire at oil company in Warrenton

Thursday, September 13, 2007

TRUESDALE, Mo. (AP) -- A large oil company building in eastern Missouri caught fire Thursday morning, sending smoke high into the air and creating concern for firefighters battling the blaze.

The fire broke out before 6 a.m. at the Warrenton Oil Co. in Truesdale, just south of Interstate 70 in Warren County and about 50 miles west of St. Louis. Traffic was diverted from the area around the fire.

Firefighters were warned that there were items inside that could explode. The cause of the fire was not known.

One firefighter from O'Fallon, Mo., suffered a back injury battling the blaze. His name and details of the injury were not immediately available.

Firefighters and hazardous materials crews from Warren, Lincoln, St. Charles and St. Louis counties were helping to put out the blaze.

Warrenton Oil Co. employs 400. It operates 26 FastLane convenience stores, 31 car wash bays and 12 food operations, according to a Web site for FastLane. The wholesale division sells and distributes fuel oils and lubricants. The company also operates hotels in Warrenton and Fulton.

The company was founded in 1972 by R.G. and Betty Baker and remains family-owned, with the couple's eight children all involved in management of the firm.

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