A.P. Hilliard was in the kitchen of his mother’s home Tuesday afternoon when her caretaker said the neighbor’s house was on fire. The fire killed one man, though several other residents escaped safely.
Hilliard said he entered the home at 2141 Market Ave. with another person in an attempt to rescue the man, but the smoke was overwhelming, and they had to leave. Firefighters were called to the scene after 2 p.m.
Andrea Brown said she lived at the home with her father, five children and a grandchild. Brown said everyone but her father was able to make it out of the structure safely. Brown said her father died in the fire. St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr. said he could not confirm the man’s identity Tuesday afternoon because the death is still under investigation.
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Michael Murphy, of East St. Louis, said he was a friend of the man who died.
“We all grew up right around here. He was a really good guy, fun to be around,” Murphy said. “He kept you laughing.”
East St. Louis Fire Chief Jason Blackmon said the cause of the fire was unclear as of Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s a sad occasion to start off the New Year,” Blackmon said.
The Cahokia Fire Department and a MedStar ambulance also responded. The American Red Cross was on the scene providing assistance to the family.