Five families escaped unharmed from an East St. Louis apartment building that caught fire early Monday morning.
The fire call came in at 2 a.m. Monday. It took 11 firefighters with an aerial ladder nearly four hours to extinguish the fire at 1121 College Ave., East St. Louis Fire Chief Jason Blackmon said.
"The roof caved in and there was still a little fire in the basement. We still have crews out there," Blackmon said late Monday morning.
By 1 p.m. Monday firefighters were gone from the burned shell.
Blackmon said the cause was under investigation. Firefighters did not immediately know whether the building had working smoke detectors.
When firefighters arrived flames were shooting through the roof and high into the air.
The American Red Cross provided temporary shelter for the families. The fire victims escaped with only the clothes they were wearing.