Fires spring up throughout metro area, hospitalize fire fighters

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 2, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 10:50 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Monday night blazes from St. Charles to East St. Louis have forced dozens of families out of their homes and put firefighters in jeopardy.

East St. Louis fire fighters started battling blazes early Monday morning when a garage fire ran a family of three out of their home.

Monday afternoon, a vacant house erupted in flames four hours after crews doused a third blaze at an abandoned building nearby.

 “You got a vacant structure then that vacant structure goes up in fire, it does raise your eye, like suspicious - with no electricty, no gas, how does it go up in flames?” asked East St. Louis Fire Chief Jason Blackmon.

The chief thinks someone set them on purpose.

Arson is also to blame for igniting 600 acres in the Mark Twain Forest last Thursday.

Fire fighters finally contained it Monday.

“The heat is just a severe factor on days like today, especially for firefighters with all the gear.  They’re instantly sweaty as soon as they put it on,” said Central County Fire Chief Russ Mason.

It was too much for some tackling a four-alarm condo blaze in St. Charles.

Two fire fighters and a homeowner had to go to the hospital, the fire fighters themselves being overcome by heat.

Fire crews say these fires are proof that the combination of low humidity and triple-digit heat is a recipe for danger.

“We would just ask people not to use fireworks. The risk is too great right now - the risk to your home, to other people’s homes.”

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