Bricks continue to block Royal Street Wednesday morning following a partial building collapse in the heart of the French Quarter.
Royal remains blocked between Dumaine and St. Ann following the collapse around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 800 block of Royal Street. The area is closed to vehicles and pedestrians until further notice.
Firefighters and code enforcement officers spent Wednesday morning assessing the building from the outside and above. The New Orleans Fire Department states that the collapse triggered a gas and water leak. Utility crews were quickly on scene Tuesday to shut off both.
Neighbors say that the building appeared neglected.
"I've been in the building many times. Just imagine stepping into a time capsule," explains Craig Tracy, a French Quarter business owner. "This looked like something that hadn't been touched since the 40's. The plumbing was at least that old. Everything was just neglected."
"Here in the French Quarter, we try and take care of things. We want this to be the best place that it can be but when owners of properties neglect things, this is what happens and it gets scary," adds Tracy.
The city of New Orleans is investigating what caused part of this old building to collapse. Firefighters state they are amazed no one was hurt when bricks and air conditioning units came tumbling down. No one was inside the building at the time of the partial collapse.
Right now, the goal is to stabilize the building enough so people can return to the neighboring buildings. Firefighters say there's a chance the whole crumbling structure may have to be torn down.