Firefighters on the scene of the Mullanphy and Helen Street fire Wednesday morning (Credit: Brian Howe / KMOV)
Skyzoom4 over the Clemens House after a fire Wednesday morning (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A St. Louis City landmark was among the three buildings firefighters battled blazes at in north St. Louis early Wednesday morning.
Just before 4 a.m., the James L. Clemens House, a four-story building at 1849 Cass, near Mullanphy and Helen Street, caught fire. The St. Louis Fire Department said wind conditions were creating challenges and there were a number of spot fires from floating embers. The fire reportedly destroyed the building’s roof and a wall.
“Initially we sized it up as a warehouse but it’s been brought to our attention that it may indeed be a historical building,” said St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby. “It was fully involved with fire. Fire from front to back.”
The Clemens House was built by Mark Twain's uncle, James Clemens, Jr., in 1860. After his death, Clemens’ heirs sold the building to the Sisters of St. Joseph. In 1971 the house was made a St. Louis City landmark.
Capt. Mosby said after firefighters were in a position to battle the Clemens House fire, they received a call for another fire about half a mile away at North 15th and Cass.
When Fire officials arrived at the two-story building at North 15th and Cass they reported the structure was “fully involved” and they were taking a “defensive stance.”
Then, just before 5 a.m., firefighters were called to put out a fire at a vacant two-story building in the 1600 block of Helen, which is located down the road from the original fire.
After the third fire, officials with the fire department said they requested a fourth alarm to help because there were multiple structural fires in the area. The department also said firefighters were in the area “wetting down rooftops” to prevent additional fires from the floating embers.