Van smashes into Mt. Vernon apartment building, causes major fir - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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Van smashes into Mt. Vernon apartment building, causes major fire

(Source: Mount Vernon Police Department) (Source: Mount Vernon Police Department)
James K Scroggins (Source: Mount Vernon Police Department) James K Scroggins (Source: Mount Vernon Police Department)
(Source: Mount Vernon Police Department) (Source: Mount Vernon Police Department)
(Source: Rae Daniel/KFVS) (Source: Rae Daniel/KFVS)
MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) -

A man is facing charges after crashing a van into a Mt. Vernon apartment building that caused an explosion.

According to the Mt. Vernon Police Department, James Scroggins, 30, ran his van into west side of a Garden Glen apartment building on Veterans Memorial Drive around 2:30 a.m.

When emergency personnel got on scene, they detected the odor of natural gas and evacuated the building.

During the evacuation, there was an explosion which caused the building to catch on fire.

When the building exploded, a Mt. Vernon firefighter was injured. The firefighter was treated at a local hospital and released.

No other injuries have been reported, however, the fire has displaced 31 people. The Red Cross is helping out.

A resident of the apartments, Brittany Treffert, said she lost her home and everything inside.

“We lost pets, all of our sentimental stuff, clothes – What we’re wearing is what we have," Treffert said.

“Just tell your family that you love them," Treffert said. And don’t ever think that it couldn’t happen to you because it could.”

According to the Mt. Vernon Police Department, efforts to fight the fire closed a portion of Veterans Memorial Drive from 34th Street to 42nd Street for about three hours.

As of 7:15 a.m. the road was reopened.

The driver who hit the building is currently being detained at the Jefferson County Justice Center.

Scroggins is facing charges for aggravated driving under the influence, driving under the influence, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and improper lane usage.

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