For the old “it’s just a building” crowd, I offer the following exhibits. First is the “Sherman House,” which was gutted by fire, started by burning embers from the Clemens Mansion on Helen Street. The fire could have easily spread to occupied houses nearby.
While this house was thankfully vacant, it sits among well-maintained, and proud homes, some with owners that go back generations. One house next door (not pictured) did catch on fire, and would have burned if not for the owners extinguishing the flames.
Ash, even after the heavy rains in the evening of Thursday, July 13th, did not wash all of the asbestos (it was tested and came back positive) and other pieces of debris away. How would you feel if you lived here? Humiliated? Victimized?
This house below is also owned by Paul McKee, and it burned years ago. Look at how well the City of St. Louis enforces its laws against slumlords.
“Sure, Paul, no need to clean up that burned-out shell you own,” someone down at City Hall said, “and by the way, thanks for the campaign donation.”
And that says nothing about the lives of the fire fighters who could have been injured or killed fighting the fire. They saved countless homes, fighting bravely against the 100-foot-tall flames.