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.
Just in time for the 4th of July, there are new requirements for anyone looking to purchase fireworks in Belleville.
Consumers have to show proof they have completed a 15 minute safety class. Illinois has a statewide ban on fireworks. Local communities can vote to allow fireworks and other pyrotechnics, but only residents who have completed the test can purchase them.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal has the safety class on their website. The Belleville Fire Department will administer the class and hopes to have it online later this month.
Reports of a disturbing case of sexual assault coming from Belleville.
A 45-year-old man is in custody after allegedly raping a 2-year-old girl. Officers say there was a witness present for the assault. The suspect in the case is a relative of the child. The toddler has been taken to a hospital for evaluation.
The case is now in the hands of the State's Attorney.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. -- AP —Police in Belleville say they’re investigating reports that female students at a Catholic high school secretly were videotaped by one of the school’s sports teams.
Police Chief William Clay Jr. isn’t discussing publicly details of the case involving the several Althoff Catholic High School females who may have been videotaped.
He says the investigation involves a possible violation of state law barring unauthorized video recording in a restroom or locker room.
Clay says the school’s staff did their own investigation of the matter before notifying police May 3.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly says a special prosecutor has been assigned to the case at his request because of a conflict in his office.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Three southwestern Illinois men are accused of violating the state's absentee ballot laws before a municipal election earlier this month.
Prosecutors in St. Clair County charged 59 year old James Haywood Jr. of Cahokia and August Stacker Jr. of Belleville with one count apiece of violation of absentee ballots. Twenty-five-year-old Steveland Kidd of Cahokia faces two felony counts.
The county's state's attorney, Brendan Kelly, says 27 absentee ballots from municipal elections involving Alorton and Cahokia were challenged and rejected, based on the findings of investigators.
The three were jailed on Tuesday, when Kelly announced the charges. Online court records don't show whether they have attorneys.
Police now say the item at the center of the incident was a package of phone books.
The Belleville Police Department led the investigation into the suspicious package which was located outside of the Medical Arts Building 180 S. 3rd St Belleville.
The building is associated with St Elizabeth Hospital. Hospital administration ordered 150 people to evacuate two buildings as a precaution. Both Belleville Police and Fire units were involved in the investigation.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville in southern Illinois is pairing its parishes so they can be served by one priest.
According to a plan released Thursday, the move will mean no parish in the diocese will be closed anytime soon.
Diocese spokesman Monsignor John Myler says the plan encourages the parishes to prepare for a time when only 50 priests will be available to pastor. He says parishes have been instructed to begin working jointly immediately.
Myler says the parishes are to implement the pastoral plan in a dynamic, flexible, gradual manner. He says if two or more parishes decide it is better to close a church building, it would be a decision of those parishes.
The diocese covers the 28 southernmost Illinois counties and includes 121 parishes.
District 118 will lay off six teachers and 20 staff members. The state of Illinois owes the district nearly two-million dollars.
In Highland, several teachers are being let go, but the specifics haven't been released.
Earlier this week, officials with Belleville District 201 and the Collinsville School District announced layoffs.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors in southwestern Illinois have charged 51 year old Carlos Garrett with first-degree murder in the death of Nicole Willis. Her partly clothed body was found near her Centreville home.
It's not immediately clear what prompted the murder counts against Garrett.
Until Monday, Garrett had been serving a six year prison term on a Montgomery County drug-distribution conviction.
Garrett remained jailed yesterday in Belleville on $1 million bond.
Online court records do not show whether he has an attorney.