EAST ST. LOUIS — A teenager died in the basement of a two-story house gutted by a fire Saturday morning.
Alexander Johnson, 16, died in the fire on Saturday after relatives who escaped the blaze say they tried to rescue him, only to be forced back by smoke.
A cause of the blaze in the frame house at 638 N. 79th St. has not been determined, Fire Chief Jason Blackmon said.
"We got the call at 8:15 a.m. He was trapped in the basement. The house was fully involved and flames were coming from the basement and the north side of the house," Blackmon said.
Blackmon was not sure whether there were any smoke detectors in the house. He said, "We didn't hear any when we arrived."
Blackmon said four adults lived in the home.
"One of the kids was not home at the time and the others made it out," he said.
Firefighters cleared from the scene at 11:56 a.m.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal's office is investigating the fire.
Asked whether it was believed the fire started in the basement, Blackmon said he didn't know.
"There was so much water in there that the State Fire Marshal is going to have to go back out tomorrow, I think," Blackmon said.
Some information in this story is from The Associated Press.