Owner of East St. Louis tire business damaged in fire vows to rebuild

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EAST ST. LOUIS, IL - A well-known Metro East business went up in flames Wednesday night. Diamond Classic Tire Shop in the 1600 block of State Street was a part of the community for a long time.  Firefighters spent hours getting the massive blaze under control, but the structure is a total loss. The owner says she is determined to rebuild this family owned business.

"It's a family owned business. We have been here for 40 something years. My mom and dad started it, you know, they passed away and I took over," said owner Lawanda Carraway.

The owner of the Diamond Classic Tire Shop in East St. Louis is heartbroken. She returned to the scene Thursday to try and salvage what she could.

St. Clair County Emergency Management Coordinator Herb Simmons says he could feel the heat from 500 feet away. There were multiple explosions in the burning building.

"There was a report that there was a 1,000 gallon tank with fuel oil or kerosene in there. That created a problem for first responders," he said. "A lot of heavy smoke in the area. The flames were starting to come through the roof at that time it just got engulfed."

The tire shop has been a fixture in the community for four decades. The East St. Louis police, fire departments, and other agencies in the area strongly depended on shop for maintenance on their vehicles.

“Back in the 70s and 80s, I used to buy tires from there. When I ran the ambulance company, they changed our tires for us. It's been a fixture for a long time,” Simmons said.

Authorities say there was one person inside the building when the fire broke out.  They made it out safely, there are no other injures to report.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.