CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. — Dozens of residents at the Touchette Elderly apartments in Cahokia Heights were forced from their homes due to a fire on Wednesday. Friday, the mayor announced all but six of those residents were able to move back home.
City leaders thanked the American Red Cross for its assistance. Mayor Curtis McCall also credited various city departments for their response.
The news came as McCall also offered prayers for the family of 82-year-old Judy St. John. The East St. Louis native and longtime resident of the apartments died in Wednesday’s fire.
“We’re thinking about her and her family, and we are praying for them,” McCall said.
St. John’s family called her the center of their universe.
“Everything we did, we all did together as a family and now that’s taken way,” said Sonja Rush, St. John’s daughter.
She credited a security guard at Touchette Regional Hospital for breaking down St. John’s door to try and save her life.
“He risked his own life to go in there,” said Rush. “He didn’t have to do that.”
St. John’s family said as of Friday, funeral arrangements were still pending. They wanted her friends at the apartment building to know arrangements would be handled by the Serenity Memorial Chapel in Belleville.
As of Friday, authorities said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.