St. Louis, MO – Sprinkler system activates in fire at high rise for the elderly and disabled; No injuries reported

Tense times for residents Thursday morning at a Midtown St. Louis apartment high-rise after a fire temporarily shut down the elevators. The apartments are home to senior citizens and people with disabilities. All three elevators in the building were disabled after a cooking accident. The fire set off the building’s sprinkler system. “When there is a fire, the sprinkler goes off. The sprinkler kicks on and it shuts down the elevator – all elevators,” said Vince Turner.

Those sprinklers sent water into a lot of different areas, including the electrical components of the elevators. The St. Louis Fire Department said the trouble began Wednesday night after Turner, a resident on the 21st floor, burned his dinner. “I was frying some fish in the skillet, then it exploded-boom-big ball of fire and smoke,” he said. The high-rise Council Towers Senior Apartments is home to senior citizens and those with disabilities. After about 12 hours of nonstop work by repair crews, two of the three elevators were back up and running. Although many of the residents struggled to get up and down the stairs, no one was hurt. “I never had to walk this many flights in my life,” said Debora Hall.

Hall, 61, said she walked down 27 flights of stairs. “It was very painful; my whole right side. I have a disc in my neck and my lower back so my whole right side is very weak,” Hall said.

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