ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Residents are displaced and are being told their building is a total loss after a five-alarm blaze ripped through their midtown St. Louis apartment building Tuesday night.
Emergency crews got the call around 7 p.m. for a fire at the four-story apartment building in the 3900 block of Lindell. They arrived on the scene to find flames erupting from the top floor and through the roof of the structure. Smoke from the blaze could be seen for miles.
Residents were rushed from the building and into the streets as some 160 firefighters positioned ladder trucks around the burning structure. The intense heat from the flames and weather prompted authorities to call in the extra manpower to rotate crews on and off the scene. Several firefighters were overcome by the heat, but they were not seriously injured.
Officials said 90 minutes into the fight firefighters were ordered out of the building as portions of the structure started to come apart. At one point the third and fourth floors of the building collapsed.
Authorities told News 4 they believe the way the building was constructed may have contributed to the flames spreading so fast.
The fire was brought under control just before 10 p.m. Exactly what sparked the blaze is still under investigation.
Traffic on Wednesday was finally moving on Lindell near where a five-alarm blaze destroyed an apartment complex in midtown St. Louis the night before.
All traffic is now operating in what are usually the eastbound lanes of Lindell after crews brought concrete medians in to split the lanes in half.
All the westbound lanes Lindell are shutdown and are expected to be closed for the foreseeable future.
On the 3949 Apartments Facebook page Wednesday morning, this statement was issued:
"Current & Future Residents, we are now able to say that the entire building has been destroyed. We will be refunding all of July's rent, all deposits and pre-paid items. Checks can be picked up from us on Friday this week. A letter will be going out to assist with insurance claims.
All leases current and future will be cancelled at this time."
The first floor of the building is commercial, while the upper floors are residential units and home to students and young professionals that work in the area.
Resident, Gina Schneider, broke down when she realized her pet had been left behind.
“She had such a hard life, and I’m about to move- I’m moving in nine days, and she was going to have a yard,” she said through tears. “I just hope she can be ok so she can play in the yard.”
On Wednesday, Schneider was reunited with Nora at the local Humane Society.
An official with the Humane Society tells News 4 that residents displaced from the fire can take their animals to the shelter’s headquarters located on Macklind or to the location at Lindell and Vandeventer. The shelter will keep the animals free of charge until their owners find housing.
Displaced residents are urged to call (314) 446-4501 for help finding shelter. Several hotels have offered discounted rates for residents as well.