Crews still on the scene of a fire at a south St. Louis County recycling center.
Fire officials closed down an exit from I-55 to Bayless so they could battle the flames. At its peak, the the fire was a four alarm blaze. Workers evacuated the facility.
No word on any injuries and still no word on what started the fire.
Smoke from a blaze at a recycling plant could cause problems for some drivers in the Earth City area Friday morning. Smoke was reported to be hanging over Highway 370 near Missouri Bottom Road just before sunrise.
The fire began in large mulch piles along Missouri Bottom Road near Earth City Expressway around midnight. As of 5 a.m., fire crews were still trying to put it out.
Hazelwood police had blocked several local roads around that fire scene.
Authorities confirm that one man is dead after a house fire in North St. Louis.
Firefighters were called to the house at the intersection of Lotus and Kingshighway just before 3 PM. The firefighters found the man on the second floor of the home and were unable to revive him.
Investigators continue their work to determine the cause of the fire.
BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) — A rapidly spreading wildfire chewed through a rugged Southern California mountain range on Thursday, destroying more than two dozen homes, threatening more than 500 other residences and forcing some 1,800 people to flee.
Six people were injured, while more than 1,400 firefighters and nine helicopters battled the flames as they pushed eastward along the San Jacinto Mountains, a desert range 90 miles east of Los Angeles, Cal Fire Riverside Chief John R. Hawkins said.
A man near the origin of the fire suffered serious burns, Hawkins said. Five firefighters were also injured, including two who suffered heat exhaustion. Officials did not have details to release on the other three.
After surveying badly charred areas, many of which burned amid the fire's out-of-control growth in the hours after it broke out, officials said 26 homes and one commercial building were destroyed and two other structures were damaged.
Hawkins said the wind-fed fire that sparked at 2:05 p.m. Wednesday is one of the "most rapidly spreading, dangerous fires that I've seen" in his 50 years as a firefighter.
The fire was estimated at nearly 22 square miles Thursday, with 20 percent containment, but it was growing, causing concern that the direction could change in the area, which is known as a wind tunnel.
"The conditions at the front right now are very dangerous," Hawkins said.
Authorities still have not determined what caused the fire.
Evacuation orders were issued in five towns. Flames were marching toward the hardscrabble town of Cabazon, where hundreds scrambled to leave in the pre-dawn hours Thursday as the mountain ridge behind their homes glowed red.
Many returned after sunrise to pack up more belongings and watch the flickering line of fire snaking along the brown, scrubby mountains.
Linda Walls, 62, sat with her family in lawn chairs and watched fire crews scrambling to douse the flames marching toward her modest home less than a quarter mile away. An American flag flapped in the gusty wind that kicked up the fire. She wiped her brow, feeling the scorching heat.
Gray and pink-tinted clouds billowed across the otherwise crystal blue sky. Neighbors could be heard coughing as they filled the beds of pickup trucks with motocross bikes, boxes of clothing, toys and packaged food.
"It seems to be taking off now," she said as sirens whirred by. "All you see are the firemen inside the blaze."
At the end of her street, a group of ostriches paced in their cages as the hill above them burned. A firefighter rushing by said they would do what they can to protect them. Nearby another pen was filled with goats.
In the nearby town of Banning, Lili Arroyo, 83, left with only her pet cockatiel, Tootsie, in its cage and a bag of important papers from her home, which was rebuilt after being destroyed in a 2006 wildfire.
"The smoke was so bad you couldn't see," said Arroyo, who lives in the town of Banning. "There were embers and ash coming down all over the sky. The smoke was really thick. I was starting not to be able to breathe."
Evacuation orders covered an RV resort called the Silent Valley Club, the rural communities of Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, Edna Valley and Vista Grande, portions of the city of Cabazon along Interstate 10, and a camping area known as Black Mountain.
A veteran of many evacuations, Dana Wright, 43, wiped away a tear as she entered a shelter at a Beaumont school and went with her family to watch TV news. She had no idea whether her Poppet Flats home of 11 years had survived. Friends said a nearby home had burned.
She and her husband hoped to find a way back up into the mountains. "I just want to look to see if we have a house," she said.
Most of Southern California's severe wildfires are associated with Santa Ana winds caused by high pressure over the West that sends a clockwise flow of air rushing down into the region.
This week's fire, however, was being fanned by a counter-clockwise flow around a low pressure area over northwest California.
It was the second major wildfire in the San Jacinto Mountains this summer. A blaze that erupted in mid-July spread over 43 square miles on peaks above Palm Springs, burned seven homes and forced 6,000 people out of Idyllwild and neighboring towns.
The latest fire also burned in the footprint of the notorious Esperanza Fire, a 2006, wind-driven inferno that overran a U.S. Forest Service engine crew. All five crew members died. A man was convicted of setting the fire and sentenced to death.
After touring the area, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who lives in Riverside County, said 165,000 acres have burned in California this year and climate change is setting conditions for more disastrous blazes, while budget cuts are limiting resources to fight them.
"Unless we take action, things are only going to get worse," she said.
A different blaze, a 60-acre wildfire, near Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains forced evacuations of about 75 homes in several mountain communities Thursday afternoon.
The fire broke out around noon, and firefighters struggled to beat back flames in steep terrain. Homes along several winding mountain roads were being evacuated.
Wrightwood is a mountain community popular with skiers located about 40 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Associated Press writer John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Charges are filed against a St. Louis woman who bragged on Facebook about lighting a dog on fire.
On July 10, a dog owner found his pet on fire in the back yard of his house. The dog, named Brownie, died from the injuries. Police say they were alerted to a post on Facebook, in which the poster, identified as Adrienne Martin, referenced setting the animal on fire.
The post read “I’m on killa mode… kill dogs… today. I mean what I say and I say what I mean… all dogs don’t go to heaven.”
Martin was charged with felony animal abuse and knowingly burning on Thursday. No word on whether she is in police custody at this time.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal official has confirmed that a fire has broken out on a blown-out Gulf of Mexico gas well.
Eileen Angelico of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement confirmed to The Associated Press that the evacuated rig caught fire late Tuesday. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The drilling rig involved was evacuated early Tuesday when the blowout occurred.
Angelico says it wasn't immediately clear what caused the gas to ignite. And it wasn't known what efforts to extinguish the blaze were being made early Wednesday.
Personnel with Wild Well Control Inc. were at the site to assess how and when to try to bring the well under control.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - A Southeast Missouri State University building will remain closed through mid-August after a rooftop fire.
The university made the announcement Thursday after insurers and engineers assessed the damage that Monday's fire caused to Robert A. Dempster Hall. The building houses business programs and some administrative offices.
The university said in a news release that portions of the building sustained roof, water and smoke damage. Vice president for finance and administration, Kathy Mangels, says the first priority is to get classrooms ready for the fall semester.
During the closure, students and staff have been moved to alternative locations.
YARNELL, Ariz. (AP) - Gusty, hot winds blew an Arizona blaze out of control Sunday in a forest northwest of Phoenix, overtaking and killing 19 members of an elite fire crew in the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. for at least 30 years.
The "hotshot" firefighters were forced to deploy their fire shelters - tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat - when they were caught near the central Arizona town of Yarnell, state forestry spokesman Art Morrison told The Associated Press.
The flames lit up the night sky in the forest above the town, and smoke from the blaze could be smelled for miles.
The fire started Friday and spread to 2,000 acres on Sunday amid triple-digit temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. Officials ordered the evacuations of 50 homes in several communities, and later Sunday afternoon, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office expanded the order to include more residents in Yarnell, a town of about 700 residents about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.
Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said that the 19 firefighters were a part of the city's fire department. The crew killed in the blaze had worked other wildfires in recent weeks in New Mexico and Arizona.
Fraijo said in a news conference that the department is grieving the loss of so many of its members.
"By the time they got there, it was moving very quickly," he said.
He added that the firefighters had to deploy the emergency shelters when "something drastic" occurred.
"One of the last fail safe methods that a firefighter can do under those conditions is literally to dig as much as they can down and cover themselves with a protective - kinda looks like a foil type- fire-resistant material - with the desire, the hope at least, is that the fire will burn over the top of them and they can survive it," Fraijo said.
"Under certain conditions there's usually only sometimes a 50 percent chance that they survive," he said. "It's an extreme measure that's taken under the absolute worst conditions."
The National Fire Protection Association had previously listed the deadliest wildland fire involving firefighters as the 1994 Storm King Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colo., which killed 14 firefighters who were overtaken by a sudden explosion of flames.
Morrison said several homes in the community of Glenisle burned on Sunday. He said no other injuries or deaths have been reported from that area.
About 200 firefighters are fighting the wildfire, which has also forced the closure of parts of state Route 89. An additional 130 firefighters and more water- and retardant-dropping helicopters and aircraft are on their way.
Federal help was also being called into to fight the fire, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman Mike Reichling said.
Prescott, which is more than 30 miles northeast of Yarnell, is one of the only cities in the United States that has a hot shot fire crew, Fraijo said. The unit was established in 2002, and the city also has 75 suppression team members.
The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Yavapai College in Prescott, the sheriff's office said.
U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, whose district includes Yarnell, shot off a series of tweets Sunday night sending his condolences to those affected. He said his office will remain in contact with emergency responders and would offer help to those who needed it.
Other high profile Arizonans expressed their shock on Twitter, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who called it "absolutely devastating news." U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., tweeted that he was "sick with the news."
Fire has destroyed the LivRite Fitness Center in the 1000 block of Carlyle. Firefighters remain at the scene (6:45am).
The building is considered a complete loss. Fire crews are still dealing with a hot spot. Smoke can be seen coming through a portion of the roof. The fire call came in just after 11:00pm Wednesday night. When firefighters arrived, flames were already threw the roof. The business was closed. No one was hurt.
Fire officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation. But officials say a janitor has reported hearing popping sounds shortly before the fire broke out, so an electrical fire is suspected. No one was injured in that blaze.
The team of an environmentalist made famous by Julia Roberts is coming to St. Louis.
A spokesman for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment told KTRS News that a team representing Erin Brockovich will be in north county to address concerns surrounding the Bridgeton Landfill.
The smoldering event underneath the landfill has residents worried it could threaten nuclear waste buried next door at the West Lake Landfill. Residents and environmentalists hope the Brockovich name will draw attention to the issue. Recent tests done by the EPA suggest the underground fire would take 10 years to reach the nuclear waste.
Missouri health officials and the state's Department of Natural Resources are monitoring the smoldering closely.