EAST ST. LOUIS — The building that once stood as a warehouse to a local Chinese business and most recently the home of Club LA, a recently opened nightclub, was reduced to rubble early Sunday by strong winds and heavy rains.
Rita McIntosh, who owned the business at 720 Martin Luther King Drive, surveyed around at the cement blocks and other debris Sunday while talking with her husband, East St. Louis police officer Rudy McIntosh.
"Look over there," she said, pointing across the street. "There is some of the roof off of the building."
Some at the scene said they heard the loud noises as the building came collapsing to the ground. Some said a tornado struck it.
"A tow truck driver told me a tornado came south heading north and he saw it drop onto the top of Club LA," Rita McIntosh said. "And, he saw it rise back up and come across State Street heading north."
McIntosh had been renting the 4,000 to 5,000 square foot building from Don Ko, who said he has owned the building for 14 to 15 years.
As he walked up with other friends or relatives, he stared wide-eyed in amazement.
"This is something that never happen to me before. Amazing. The whole place is on the ground. The bottom of the building is on top. It flipped over," Ko said.
Ameren UE workers in brightly colored green vests checked the downed wires. Electricity and gas to the building was disconnected.
"We just had a party last night," Rita McIntosh said. "There were lots of people here. I am just happy and thankful that nobody was in there when this happened. I have never had anything like this to happen to me. It's devastating.
"We put a lot of money and time into this business. it's hard to look at it like this. We had it fixed up very nice inside and we were just talking about some other things that we wanted to do. Yes, it's frustrating. But, like I said life is most precious and I am extremely grateful that no one was here when this happened," McIntosh said.
She hopes to reopen the business, which had been operating since late September.