Just before 7 p.m. Saturday, Marusanne Johnson of Cape Girardeau was at the Slam Fest basketball tournament at Indian Park on William Street. She was having her picture taken with her daughter and granddaughter when she saw smoke billowing from the 200 block of William Street.
"I thought, 'That's way too close to my apartment,'" Johnson said, and she ran down the street to investigate.
In fact, the smoke was coming from her apartment building at 216 William St.
Firefighters and police arrived shortly after 7 p.m. to a one-and-a-half story apartment building engulfed in smoke with flames shooting from the roof. A later search showed that no one was inside.
All three Cape Girardeau fire engines, the city's ladder truck and the Scott City Fire Department responded to the call. The fire was subdued by 7:40 p.m. The 200 block of William Street and two blocks of Lorimier Street were closed to traffic while authorities worked the scene.
"My best guess is that the fire started on the first floor and worked its way up," said Cape Girardeau fire chief Richard Ennis.
He said it was too early to determine the fire's cause or the amount of damage to the structure.
Johnson said that her downstairs apartment had severe damage in the kitchen, though she said she has no idea what caused the fire. The residents of both other apartments in the building said they were either at Slam Fest or were notified of the fire by someone who was.
The building's owner, Debra Hamilton, was at the scene, but she said she knew nothing about the fire and had no comment.
335-6611, extension 137