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Woman dies in south St. Louis house fire

ST. LOUIS — One woman is dead after an early morning house fire in South St. Louis. The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Friday in a home on 3900 block of Schiller Place near Ulena Avenue.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said when crews arrived on the scene the second floor of the home was fully involved. It was during the second pass through the home, firefighters found a woman on the second floor in the rear hallway covered by debris after the roof collapsed on top of her.

Jenkerson said Schiller Pl. is a "very tight block," and fire also spread to two neighboring homes. Crews brought trucks in on Schiller Pl. and on Eichelberger Street, the next block over, to attack the fire from every angle.

Jenkerson said this was a very labor intensive fire. There were cars parked in front of fire hydrants which delayed firefighters from locating the water source.

Then, to complicate the situation further, power lines came down on the fire trucks. Ameren crews had to be called out as well.

The two story building where the fire began is severely damaged, and the neighboring buildings sustained heavy damage, Jenkerson said.

Meloni Jones lived in one of the neighboring homes that caught fire. She she could smell the smoke and feel the heat when she woke up. She rushed to wake three children also in the home and get all four of them out safely. She reported hearing popping sounds from the fire.

'It is undescribable to wake up to a house fire," Jones said. "My arm is still warm from the heat of the wall in my house. It is still warm from that. That is some intense heat.'

Officials have not released the identity of the victim.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.