A house fire in the first block of East Mulberry Street in Springfield on Friday afternoon shot flames through the roof and smoke billowing into the afternoon sky that could be seen far across the city.
The green, two-story house, which contains apartment units, is just south of the Clark State Performing Arts Center.
Stairwells were burned quickly, Springfield Fire Rescue Division Assistant Chief Matt Smith said, so crews had to attack it from the outside.
Aerial ladders were used, as were hand lines.
At least four people live in the house, which has four units, officials said.
Red Cross will be called to assist the residents.
The house will need to be demolished, Smith said. He estimated the building was more than 100 years old.