Metro-East News

Kids playing with matches ignite first of 2 house fires in East St. Louis on Thursday

East St. Louis fire crews responded to two significant house fires within hours of each other Thursday night.

The first house fire at 36th and Linden was called in around 6 p.m. and was started by children playing with matches, according to Assistant Fire Chief George McClellan.

The four children and two adults living in the home escaped uninjured, McClellan said

“Kids playing with matches burned the home. Everybody got out okay — but there was a lot of damage,” he said.

It took fire fighters an hour and a half to put the blaze out.

The second fire was called in around 11 p.m. by a neighbor in the 7000 block of North 84th Street. The caller reported a neighbor’s property was on fire.

A woman and three children lived at that residence, McClellan said.

“When we arrived, we searched the home for the people who lived there. They were out at a cousin’s house when the fire started,” McClellan said. “We had been at the home for about an hour when the residents showed up.”

The fire started on the middle floor of the home, McClellan said. A cause for the fire has not been determined.

It took firefighters three hours to put the fire out.

Dana Rieck: 618-239-2642, @ByDanaRieck