Metro-East News

‘He kept you laughing’: 65-year-old killed in East St. Louis house fire

A man who died in a house fire Tuesday in the 2100 block of Market Avenue has been identified as Willie Brown, 65, according to St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr.

Offer your condolences to the loved ones of Willie Brown.

Brown died of smoke inhalation in the afternoon fire. He was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. at the scene.

Brown’s daughter, Andrea Brown, said she lived at the residence with her father, five children and a grandchild. Brown said everyone but her father was able to make it out of the structure safely.

A neighbor, A.P. Hilliard, was in the kitchen of his mother’s home when her caretaker said the Browns’ house was on fire. Hilliard said he entered the home with another person in an attempt to rescue Willie Brown, but the smoke was overwhelming, and they had to leave.

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.”

Firefighters responded to reports of a fire at 2 p.m. The fire was extinguished shortly after 3 p.m. East St. Louis Fire Chief Jason Blackmon said the cause of the fire was unclear.

The Cahokia Fire Department and a MedStar ambulance also responded. The American Red Cross was on the scene providing assistance to the family.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately available Wednesday morning.