Fire chief: Warm, dry, windy day to blame for several city fires


by Laura Hettiger / News 4

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 2:38 AM

1000 block of Grandview Place

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ST. LOUIS ( -- St. Louis City firefighters battled several fires on Saturday, the worst of which severely damaged a home in the historic Dogtown neighborhood.
Dennis Jenkerson, St. Louis City Fire Chief, said the fire that broke out on Grandview Place around 2:15 Saturday afternoon probably started with dry leaves on the ground and a strong wind. Based on the damage he saw, he said possibly a hot car or even a cigarette could have started a fire in a pile of leaves in a back alley. From there, the fire spread across a backyard to an outdoor bar-be-que grill where a gas tank exploded.
"At that point, I figured, I better not deal with this," homeowner Frederick Sweet said. "The fire department was on it's way."
Sweet and his wife watched their historic, turn of the century home smoke and burn for two hours on Saturday.
A neighbor first alerted them to the fire in the backyard. Sweet, a Washington University professor, tried to put it out, but could not handle it.
"I'm trying to fight the fire," Sweet said about the afternoon. "But because there is a bar-be-que grill, you don't want to be next to a bar-be-que grill in a fire."
The Sweet's home and the home next to it both suffered extensive damage. However, no one was injured.
Chief Jenkerson said although it is against the law to burn leaves in St. Louis, he often sees fires that start after leaves have been raked to the curb and then a hot car parks on them.