UPDATE: Investigators reported Saturday afternoon that the fire was caused by the victim who fell asleep while smoking a cigarette.
HANNIBAL (WGEM) — A high-rise fire in Hannibal claimed the life of one person Saturday morning.
Firefighters said a fire broke out shortly before 8 a.m. on the third floor of Laura Hawkins Hall at 110 North 11th St.
“When they arrived on scene, they found fire on the third floor, they contained the fire to the room it was initially in,” said Hannibal Fire Department Deputy Chief Ryan Neisen.
He said smoke spread throughout the building so firefighters had to evacuate the building.
Because most of the residents were elderly evacuation required a big crew, fire officials said.
“It was a challenge, it’s a six floor building, we have a lot of elderly and handicap people that live in this building, so getting those people out of the building was a time consuming and challenging process,” said Neisen.
He said unfortunately one person was caught in the blaze.
Afterwords, crews continued to help out at the scene, evacuating many of the residents to the church across the street where they got help from the American Red Cross.
Many residents said they didn’t have time to grab things like glasses or canes.
Firefighters said the situation was made more difficult due to the amount of smoke throughout the building.
Residents said they were told they can not go back into the building until at least noon Saturday.
No information on the victim has been released yet.
No other injuries have been reported.