ST. CHARLES COUNTY — Firefighters responded Tuesday night to the 600 block of Grove Avenue, on the edge of the Mississippi River, and found a single-family home engulfed in flames. The home, which apparently had been damaged by flooding this spring, was empty.
Steve Brown, assistant chief of Central County Fire & Rescue, said there was no accidental cause to the fire: The home had been abandoned, and cut off from electricity and gas supply. No storms in the area meant firefighters were able to rule out a lightning strike.
But Brown also warned Wednesday of a troubling “common malady” he’s seen after floods: Some flood-damaged homes deemed too costly to repair have been set on fire, either by owners or neighbors who don’t want to look at them, he says.
“There is a proper way to dispose of these properties. Burning them at night isn’t it,” Brown told the Post-Dispatch.
Brown said he saw several such blazes after the 1993 flood.
But Brown said the fire department didn’t know who started Tuesday night’s fire.
The Post-Dispatch couldn’t reach the person listed in assessor records as owner of the home on Grove Avenue.