Residents displaced after small apartment fire leads to power shut-off

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ST. ANN, MO (KTVI) -A high rise apartment fire in St. Ann forces more than 161 residents to evacuate into the cold. The fire started on the tenth floor of the 14 story building. The flames did little damage but the water from the sprinklers caused lots of problems.

Resident Susan Tracy said, “A pain in the neck and scary you got to get out grab whatever you need.”

A resident was cooking when it happened.

St. Ann Mayor Michael Corcoran said, “She was wearing some type of shawl or sweater or something. It caught the flame, caught on fire. Evidently she threw that under the sink which caught fire to the cabinet under there.”

Immediately the sprinklers began spraying and extinguished the flames. No one was hurt but the water kept flowing from the tenth floor down to the first.

Resident Larry Fryer said, “Water started coming out in the apartment almost to my ankle.”

Power had to be shut off to the building.

Metro showed up with buses to keep the evacuated residents warm. While most people went to stay with family or friends, about 50 were brought to the St. Ann Community Center where the American Red Cross set up a shelter and fed them lunch.

Cindy Erickson is the regional CEO with the Red Cross. She said, “Our priority is making sure everybody has a safe place to stay.”

Folks appreciated the Red Cross assistance; still they were not looking forward to sleeping in a shelter. Lee Esther Thomas was one of them.

Thomas said, “I think the apartment building should put me up in a hotel so I can have some privacy because I pay my rent you know.”

The company that owns the apartment building checked residents into a Super 8 motel early Friday afternoon.

Residents’ pets were taken to the St. Ann Animal Control Shelter where volunteers will care for two dogs, nice cats, two birds and one fish until they can return to their owners.

Shannon Fleschert is the St. Ann animal control officer. She said, “It feels great it’s heartwarming to see them relax at least a little bit knowing their pet is going to be safe.”

Meanwhile rehab crews arrived to soak up the water and dry out the building.

Mayor Corcoran said, “We had outlets that were blowing the circuit breakers we got make sure everything is dry and up to code.”

It could be a few days before residents can return to their apartments. The Red Cross will follow the people making sure they are cared for. Their rent will be pro-rated for the days they are not living in their apartments.

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