St. Louis firefighters battle frigid temperatures at 2-alarm fire

Firefighters never went offensive at the partially collapsed butcher shop

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — Firefighters using five ladder trucks are spraying water on a raging fire at Obama Meat Market this morning in frigid cold 11-degree temperatures.

The two-story brick building is at 20th and East Grand Boulevard, near the Grand Water Tower in the city's College Hill neighborhood. At 6 a.m., it was a two-alarm blaze, and flames were shooting from the roof as crews tried to keep the fire from spreading to an adjacent building.

The butcher shop is at 2025 E. Grand Boulevard. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

St. Louis Fire Department Capt. Garon Mosby, the public relations officer with the fire department, said the fire was reported before 5:30 a.m.

About 50 firefighters were fighting the fire with 10 or a dozen pieces of fire equipment, Mosby said. The roof of the butcher shop partially collapsed, but crews never fought the blaze from inside the building. They knew when they arrived that the butcher shop, which was engulfed in flames, was closed and no one was trapped inside.

Firefighters had the fire under control but were still working to extinguish it at 7:30 a.m.

Obama Shalabi, who owns the building and the store, said he opened his business about five years ago. There was a fire on the second floor, primarily used for storage, a couple years ago, and Shalabi made the repairs to reopen the business, he said. Shalabi said the butcher shop closed Sunday night at 7 p.m. He said fire officials haven't talked to him yet about what may have caused the fire.

Shalabi said he plans to stay in business.

"We will fix it back up," he said.

Check back for updates.


(c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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