EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Investigators are looking into an early Sunday morning fire in East St. Louis that destroyed a pallet manufacturer and recycling company.
The fire was reported about 4:30 a.m. in the 2000 block of East Broadway.
The blaze significantly damaged a company known as Ongweoweh Supply Chain Solutions.
Fire chief Jason Blackmon said investigators do not yet know the cause.
“Not at this particular time," said Blackmon, at about 10:30 Sunday morning. "It’s a pallet yard and a lot of pallets and a lot of equipment were on fire. So, that generates a lot of black smoke that you saw out here.”
On Monday, Blackmon said investigators will not be able to determine the cause of the fire because of how extensive the damage was.
Monica Davis saw the fire from the window of her 9th floor home.
Davis said, “It stayed real big in a cloud. I jumped up and told my husband, ‘Babe, look at this!’ He said, ‘Gosh, where did that come from?’”
Firefighters had an issue with water pressure and had to travel to a hydrant about a block away and fill a tanker to transport water to the scene.
Blackmon said, “It’s been difficult because we’ve got two plugs on the same main, so we had to shuttle water. Plus, we used the plugs that were out here. Each truck carries 1,000 gallons, so we shuttled water in, refilled, and came back.”
East St. Louis called upon mutual aid, according to Blackmon.
“We called in Fairmont City for additional manpower to assist us,” said Blackmon, “because we needed another ladder truck. Fairmont City came out to assist us and did a great job out here.”
Firefighters are likely to be tending to the scene for a couple of days, putting out hot spots.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.