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6-story building burns near downtown St. Louis

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
St. Louis firefighters check an adjoining building during a five-alarm fire in downtown St. Louis on Dec. 8, 2011. The six story, vacant building is a complete loss as 125 firefighters fought the stubborn blaze for five hours.

Fire officials in St. Louis are trying to determine the cause of a blaze in a vacant six-story building near downtown.

The fire broke out before noon Thursday. There were no reports of injuries, though the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website reported that what was believed to be homeless people were seen fleeing the building. By early afternoon, the fire was under control.

There were reports of an explosion that preceded the fire. Flames shot from the top two floors of the building and the fire was broadcast on national TV news outlets.

Several dozen firefighters responded to the fire in the former Crunden Martin Manufacturing Co. building near the Mississippi River and south of the Gateway Arch.

As of 5:03 p.m. the Post-Dispatch reports that the fire "is expected to burn through the night and possibly into the early morning tomorrow."


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