Man charged with arson after multiple businesses catch fire in Granite City

Crews in Granite City are responding to a fire that spread to multiple businesses early Tuesday morning.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 5:22 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2023 at 5:32 AM CDT
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GRANITE CITY (KMOV) -- The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office charged 56-year-old William L. Jacobson with aggravated arson after multiple businesses caught on fire early Tuesday morning in Granite City.

The fire happened along Washington near 25th Street. The fire was reported just after 2:30 a.m. Flames consumed multiple businesses, including a dog groomer and an upholstery shop.

There was also an apartment building under threat, but everyone was able to make it out safely. A charging document against Jacobson alleges that he set the apartment and commercial complex on fire knowing that “multiple residents of the apartment complex were present.”

Madison County prosecutors filed a petition to deny Jacobson bail in the case based on the alleged crime being a felony. A spokesperson for the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office said Jacobson had a court appearance Thursday afternoon but was unaware if the detention petition would be taken up at that time.

A firefighter was transported to the hospital due to heat exhaustion, but no other injuries were reported.

Jason Hall’s family has run a dog grooming business in that Granite City building for nearly 50 years.

“There’s a lot of emotion when you’ve been a part of a place for almost five decades,” Hall said. “Family members, grandparents, memories as a child, memories with your customers. This is her life’s work and this has been devastating for that.”

His mom runs Klassy Klips and woke up to a call Tuesday morning, letting her know a massive fire broke out.

“You never expect to wake up one day and get a call that your life’s work, your business, would just go up in flames,” Hall said.

Hall said his family came together to clean up and forge ahead, focusing on what’s next for his mom.

“The family and cousins and neighbors and friends trying to clean out, salvage whatever supplies and equipment that we can,” Hall said.

Unikqua Musgrave’s apartment building is connected to Klassy Klips, and said she woke up to banging on the door.

“I wake up and all I smelled was smoke and my kids were in the other room asleep,” Musgrave said. “I look out the window, and I see the whole road covered in fire department. My boyfriend was like the house is on fire, the house is on fire so I ran in the room woke my kids up and we opened the front door. All the smoke came in the house. It just covered us.”

Hall said his mom loves what she does and wants to get back to work as soon as she can.

“People have already reached out saying you can operate here temporarily, permanently, so this is an incredible community,” Hall said. “It’s made me who I am, and it’s made this business what it is.”