A fire that started at a salvage yard in Cahokia on Monday afternoon quickly spread to the surrounding brush, and multiple fire departments were still working the fire to put it out late into the evening Monday.
Heavy black smoke filled the area for hours, including the nearby intersection of Interstate 255 and Illinois 157. Yellow flames shot through the black smoke. The fire at Marty's Used Car and Truck Parts, located at 2014 Camp Jackson Road, was reported at 2:38 p.m., and at 8:30 p.m., Fire Chief David Everhart said fire crews were still watching it.
The Illinois Environmental Protective Agency had personnel on the ground Monday evening in Cahokia as did Illinois' Hazmat team. Everhart expects the Illinois State Fire Marshall's office to be on scene Tuesday to investigate the blaze, too.
Describing what happened , he said, "It was a good fire. When the first unit arrived on scene, they found heavy fire in the junk yard. The flames were probably 100 feet by 100 feet and about 50 feet deep," Everhart said.
"It's not out. We'll probably be here all night," Everhart said at 8:30 p.m.
One firefighter went to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, he said.
Cahokia Police Chief James Jones said a nearby gas station, Midwest Petroleum at 2201 Camp Jackson Road, was closed for safety.
"We do not know if there are any flammables in the yard, where the fire started in the yard, or if something could possibly explode. Even the police are being kept a good distance away from the tow yard for safety reasons," Jones said.
It's unclear how the fire started.
"We've been hearing that it may be tires that are burning but we do not know for sure," he said.
Roughly 25 fire departments were on scene. They included Cahokia, Dupo, Prairie DuPont, Camp Jackson, Sauget and Millstadt. Approximately 80 to 85 emergency crew personnel were still at Marty's salvage yard at 9 p.m. Monday.
View Cahokia salvage yard fire in a larger map