Demolition began Friday morning after a historic three-story building collapsed Wednesday afternoon in the heart of the French Quarter.
Bricks and debris clutter Royal Street, which remains blocked between Dumaine and St. Ann.
The collapse happened in the 800 block of Royal Street. The building partially collapsed around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters and building inspectors spent hours monitoring the situation before the building collapsed around 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
The building was more than 200 years old. It was an apartment building rented by one family.
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."
Eight families that live in adjacent buildings are temporarily forced to find another place to stay.
The Vieux Carre Commission does have an inspector who is only responsible for looking at the exterior of buildings in the French Quarter. In 2011, the building's owner was cited for what is called minor demolition by neglect, which means some repairs are needed.
Due to the old age of the building, demolition companies worry about the presence of asbestos. This required a special permit from the Department of Environmental Quality.
Demolition began on Friday morning. Firefighters say it could still be a few days before the street reopens.
"We think it will actually be a couple of days to actually get the entire thing torn down and hauled off. not a lot of room for staging equipment or debris," New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell said. "As you start to tear it out and then to get trucks in here to haul it away, because the French Quarter obviously has other challenges due to the close proximity of everything so it'll be a little more tedious and time-consuming than if it was in another location."
Crews state the process may take time to ensure nothing else is damaged on Royal Street.
Mobile user? Click here to view the video: http://bit.ly/1D0rWoc