Neighbors used a blanket to catch three children who jumped from a burning apartment building in East St. Louis Saturday morning and firefighters rescued two men from the roof of the two-story building, the East St. Louis Fire Department reported.
No serious injuries were reported and all 25 people in the building escaped.
Assistant Fire Chief Derrick Burns said one man who had jumped from the building was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Since the building at 501 St. Louis Ave. is so close to the MetroLink tracks, the fire department asked Metro to shut down the trains between the Fifth and Missouri Station and the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Station. MetroLink passengers had to take a bus between the two stations for a 20-minute delay but full service resumed in the afternoon.
Burns said the tracks were closed because the fire department had to reach a structural engineer to make sure the building wouldn’t collapse onto the tracks.
The tracks also had to be closed because a water hose crossed the tracks so firefighters could attach it to a fire hydrant on the other side of the tracks.
The American Red Cross is assisting the residents.
The cause of the fire is not known, Burns said. The blazed was reported at 6:30 a.m. and the building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Firefighters had responded to the building at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday for a trash can fire but that fire was extinguished before firefighters arrived. Burns said a search was completed at the time and the building was deemed safe.
Burns said the apartment had 20 residents and five visitors at the time of the fire.
A ladder was used to rescue the two men from the roof of the two-story building.
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