Several residents were rescued from a burning apartment building in Belleville on Sunday morning that has left eight families at least temporarily without homes.
Firefighters from East Side Fire District and Swansea Fire Department responded to the St. Clair Village apartments Sunday on reports of people trapped on balconies. An upper-level unit was on fire, and St. Clair County and Belleville police assisted firefighters with evacuating them from their apartments.
East Side firefighters rescued at least three victims trapped on the porch of the unit that was burning, according to Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour.
Sharon Carroll was taking a nap in her first-floor apartment when she woke to smoke alarms. The fire had started in the apartment above hers, and when she opened the hallway door, smoke poured in. So she fled out her patio door, and is now facing the loss of almost everything she owns.
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“I have no clothes except these,” she said, indicating the blue pajamas she was wearing. Her TV and electrical appliances are likely irreparable, along with pictures of her granddaughter.
“That’s stuff that can’t be replaced,” she said. “I don’t know what I’ll do next.”
Her son, Clinton Walker, was not at home, but arrived some time later to rescue his card collection: once valued at $32,000, now soaked.
Lt. Sean Fleming of the East Side Fire Department said at the moment, the cause of the fire is undetermined. It appears to have started in the kitchen or living room of the upstairs apartment, but the balcony’s sliding door was open, which fed it fresh air, he said.
Eight apartments were damaged in the fire, and the American Red Cross is assisting the people who were displaced. No one was seriously injured, but Fleming said some people were taken to area hospitals for evaluation. The building itself is likely a total loss, he said.