ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Fire crews were back at the former Jamestown Mall overnight after yet another fire at the north county eyesore. This latest incident comes not long after demolition started at the massive complex just off Lindbergh and not far from 367.
The fire is out, although there has been some on-and-off smoldering. Authorities have been at the site, monitoring the situation. The Chief of the Blackjack Fire Protection District, Roger Ellison, told FOX 2 that crews got the call about 10:30 p.m.
Ellison said that when firefighters got there, flames were already through the roof. He added that the fire started in the former cinema area, where the current demolition is taking place. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Ellison explained how crews had limited ways to fight the fire because the hydrants there were no longer functioning with the demolition. Firefighters did put some water on the flames that they carry in their trucks, but beyond that, crews just let the fire burn itself out.
The mall originally opened in 1973, but it’s been closed since 2014 and has been the site of many issues in recent years. This is the third fire at the mall this year. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries in one of those earlier fires.
Here is some of what Ellison told FOX 2 about the decision not to aggressively fight the fire:
“It’s a vacant building,” Chief Ellison said. “It’s under demolition. There’s no report of anybody trapped inside. There was no reason to put any of our firefighters lives in jeopardy over it. The fire was contained to that building; it was contained to that area of the building. So you know watching it was our best option.”
Demolition at the former mall officially began on September 26. The teardown is going to be a massive job as the complex is over a million square feet. The dismantling is expected to be completed by early next summer.
It’s unclear what kind of redevelopment might ultimately take place at the location.