EAST ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - East St. Louis Fire Chief James Blackmon said a church caught fire around 7 pm Saturday night at 25th Street and Ridge Ave.By 10:30 p.m., firefighters from Fairmount City and Washington Park in Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri joined the fight.
Blackmon said the biggest challenge in fighting the fire was the sheer size of the structure. He believed the church, Christ Redeemed Missionary Baptist, had been closed for a while and the building was operating as a carpet business. Blackmon said the carpets likely explained the large amount of flames that could be seen from a quarter-mile away.
However, an email to FOX 2 says that Christ Redeemed Missionary Baptist was still an active church, holding services every Sunday.
Nearby residents lost power for a few hours after a transformer near the church exploded. One resident said crews cut power to the rest of the block as a safety precaution.
Blackmon said no one was inside the building when the fire started and there were no injuries to report. He added that the state fire marshal would look for a cause.