ST. LOUIS – The building that housed Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes was destroyed on Friday night. One person was killed and another was hospitalized. The victims’ friends in the West Pine Laclede neighborhood are rallying to help.

“My real purpose is to mourn the passing of a close friend, who I’ve known for 40 years,” said Harold Karabell, president of the West Pine Laclede Neighborhood Association.

St. Louis firefighters responded to a call in the 4100 block of Laclede Avenue shortly 7:30 p.m. Friday. Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire and smoke coming from the back of the two-story building. On Saturday, a fire department spokesman confirmed a body had been recovered. The department has not yet released the victim’s name. The other victim is in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

“He’s recovering from smoke inhalation. He will be fine physically,” Karabell said. Psychology, one can’t even imagine what he’s going through, having lost everything his life’s work with Kramer’s Marionnettes.”

The company wasn’t just a popular place in St. Louis, but a well-known organization around the world.

“Their orchestra and their craftmanship were unmatched,” Karabell said. “They were not only known in St. Louis and beloved in St. Louis, but throughout the Midwest, throughout the whole country, and they were even known internationally for their skillful creation of marionnettes, and their remarkably moving and loving performances.”

Karabell and the association have set up a GoFundMe to pay their respects and show support for a good neighbor.