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SOUTH ST. LOUIS – Nearly 20 people were evacuated early Friday morning after fire crews battled an intense apartment fire just south of downtown St. Louis.

The fire started around 5:00 a.m. at the Old Frenchtown Apartments at Hickory Street and Grattan near South 14th & Chouteau Ave.

Heavy flames could be seen coming from the building extending through the roof when crews arrived. The fire was brought under control at around 6:20 a.m with firefighters remaining on the scene.

Bommarito Automotive SkyFox Helicopter flew over the scene where you could see the roof partially collapsed. Heavy damage is apparent to the inside of the building.

One woman told Fox 2 she lived in her unit for 17 years and evacuated her apartment with only the clothes on her back. Other residents we spoke with just want answers.

Fox 2’s Blair Ledet reports 14 adults and six children living in the building were evacuated. They managed to get out safely.

The American Red Cross is helping families that were displaced. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.