A fire that started in the southwest corner of the apartment building at 135 Cove Trail Lake Saint Louis quickly whipped into an inferno by Wednesday's high winds.
Eric Twedell lives in a building nearby. "I heard 'fire, fire, everybody out.' The thing was burning and burning," he said.
Police received the call of a fire at Camden Cedar Lakes Apartments Wednesday at 2:24 p.m. It quickly went to four alarms and Wentzville firefighters were assisted by units from Lake Saint Louis, Cottleville, O'Fallon, New Melle and St. Charles.
Tracy Wakefield and her children Lance and Cassidy watched from a safe distance. Cassidy was the first person to see the fire, which she said started in a woodpile near a patio.
"I'm just glad you're all right, Cass," Lance said.
"I hustled out of there," Cassidy said. Cassidy is credited with raising the alarm for the other residents to evacuate.
When the fire was out, Wentzville Assistant Fire Chief Robb Watkins spoke to reporters.
Battling the fire was made more difficult by 23 mile per hour winds that caused the fire to jump the firewall between sets of apartments. "Eight of the units may still be habitable," he said.
Firefighters rescued three pets, two dogs and a cat, from one of the apartments once the fire was out. "They were waiting in a corner of a bedroom, waiting for someone to come and get them. They would not move on their own," Watkins said.
"Fortunately for them, the fire there was in the attic, not in the living space."
Camden Cedar Lakes staff are working on relocating the affected tenants.