ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – It was already an eyesore, but Thursday morning the defunct and abandoned old Jamestown Mall in north county is in even worse shape after a fire does significant damage to part of it.
The Interim Chief for the Blackjack Fire Protection District, Roger Ellison, told FOX 2 Thursday morning that this latest fire started just beyond the doors of an old loading dock area. The fire then grew and did some very extensive damage.
There is a significant part of the roof missing after the fire.
Ellison shared that authorities got the initial call for the fire around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.
We’re told when the first crews arrived, flames were coming from the area of the former mall close to the old Dillard’s store.
The fire quickly grew to three alarms, with crews from multiple departments responding. Smoke could be seen for miles.
Besides fighting the flames, crews also had to deal with the large amount of debris inside the building.
Ellision explained that two firefighters did suffer minor injuries. One is from the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District, while the other is from the Hazelwood Fire Department.
Ellison said both firefighters have been treated and released from the hospital.
FOX 2 spoke with Ellison about how challenging it was to fight the fire.
“It was tough in the aspect of gaining the access, you know,” Ellsion expressed. “Because it’s an abandoned mall, there’s already hazards you know with the walls and roofs you know that aren’t stable inside. So we got to make sure that when we send guys in or firefighters in that we’re trying to send them in to a fairly safe environment – and then debris was piled up, so we had to get heavy equipment in there, you know? To separate that equipment, so we could get to the deep seeded area.”
Ellision also said the cause for the fire is still under investigation. There is no working electricity in the former mall.
We’re told $12 million in COVID relief funds have been set aside to demolish the old mall. It’s set to start in about a month. It’s unclear whether that timeline might be sped up in the wake of the fire.