CARTERVILLE, Ill. (AP) - More than a dozen fire crews from across southern Illinois joined Carterville firefighters in battling a massive fire that destroyed a business that had served the city for more than 40 years.
WSIU Radio reports that the fire broke out Monday evening and destroyed Corbell Telephone and Electronics. There's no word yet on what caused the blaze. No injuries were reported.
Residents gathered near Carterville's historic downtown for several hours, watching as the fire burned through one building and threatened others.
Mayor Bill Mausey says older buildings make these fires harder to fight because the timbers provide kindling for the blaze.
The mayor says the fire is unfortunate but he's confident the community will recover and the city will do what it can to help.
Filmmaker Terry Artis told Fox2 News that the black man depicted is supposed to represent Slay's supporters. "I'm trying to shock people into the reality of what this is," Artis said. "We live in a city that's run like one big slave plantation."
Artis is also being criticized for releasing “Bootlicker” on February 20th, less than two weeks before the Mayoral primary.
Mayor Slay released a statement critical of the film: "It's an appalling contradiction to the Reed campaign's theme of ‘One St. Louis’ when they and their supporters demean, in the worst possible way, African Americans who support Mayor Slay."
In response, Reed's Campaign released the following statement: "We condemn the overtones in this material. Francis Slay's record is enough for us to criticize without stoking the fire of racial politics."
Missouri currently enjoys a triple-A rating.
But Moody's Investors Service last week assigned a negative outlook to Missouri because of the proportion of the state budget that already comes from the federally and state-funded Medicaid program.
If Missouri expands Medicaid eligibility as called for in the federal Healthcare Reform Act, it would get billions of dollars more from the federal government in coming years.
Caterpillar spokesman Rusty Dunn says it's unclear what caused the blast and fire yesterday morning in an unattached paint building. That building was heavily damaged. Saline County Sheriff's Office Lt. Tracy Felty says it happened near the village of Carrier Mills.
Dunn says an unidentified employee sustained burns and was taken to a St. Louis-area hospital. His medical status was not immediately known.
The Carrier Mills site and a related site in nearby Norris City together employ about 70 people. It's not clear how many workers were at the Carrier Mills location when the explosion happened.
Carrier Mills is about 140 miles southeast of St. Louis.