ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- There were some tense moments Saturday in north St. Louis as police and fire crews responded to a collapsed building, fearing someone was trapped inside.
First responders did not find anyone inside, but the incident draws attention to a much larger problem.
Neighbors say thieves have been stealing bricks from the house and that it has been ransacked many times over the past several months.
This is a problem because the removal of bricks can make vacant homes and buildings structurally unsound.
Police, firefighters and paramedics responded when a neighbor said they believed someone was trapped after part of the back wall collapsed.
Firefighters say the building was too dangerous to go inside, so they raked through the brick pile looking for a victim. However, authorities found no one.
"Fortunately, most of the times (people) are not in there, but it's like anything else. With all the rain we've been having recently, some of these buildings are in horrible shape," said Battalion Chief Ken Smith.
Smith says an immediate demolition order has been placed on the building, and that it will probably be torn down Monday.