ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson says the cause of the five alarm fire that destroyed a midtown apartment building is not suspicious and the building was up to code.
Jenkerson says investigators have a pretty good idea what started the fire in an upper floor apartment, but they’re waiting to conduct a few more interviews before making a final determination.
He says they’ve also determined that the building did have the required “draft walls” in the attic, but he says the fire was just too much for those walls, “Because of the intensity and the heat conditions, just a perfect storm, this fire really went through this building up in the roof area.”
Jenkerson says that ‘perfect storm’ started with the record-breaking heat outside, “I wouldn’t want to guess what the temperature was in the attic but it was up there. The lightweight construction which burns a little quicker and the material intensifies the fire, if you will. We also had a fair amount of wind blowing from the east to the west which is the way the fire went.”
Jenkerson says the building did have the required sprinklers but they aren’t required in the attic.
By mid-day Wednesday the building was declared a total loss. Click here to read our earlier story.
All residents of the building are now looking for a new place to live. EDR, the company that owns the 3949 Apartments, has a street team helping residents find a new place to live. A Facebook page has been set up, and different apartments in the area are posting vacancies. The Red Cross is offering help to displaced residents. The Coronado and the Holiday Inn are offering rooms to residents. St. Louis University is reaching out to students who were living in the building and offering help with finding a new place to live.
EDR Spokeswoman Susan Jennings says all residents will get a check for all of July’s rent and their security deposit on Friday. She says as soon as the Fire Department gives the go ahead, residents will be allowed back in the building to recover anything they can. Some apartments were totally destroyed, but others might only have water or smoke damage. Residents were not required to have renter’s insurance.
The Humane Society is housing any pets that are displaced or can’t stay with their owners.