NOFD: 6-alarm fire on edge of French Quarter under control

NOFD: Downtown building destroyed by 6-alarm fire in danger of collapsing

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Fire Department is still on the scene of a 6-alarm fire in the French Quarter.

Firefighters had the blaze under control as of 11:48 a.m., but continue to search for hot spots and complete the investigation into how this fire started.

The fire started in the 1000 block of Canal Street shortly after 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The first floor of the involved buildings housed businesses including a cell phone store, a beauty shop and a dress shop. The second floor are apartments.

New Orleans Fire Superintendent Timothy McConnell said the outside of the building is in "great danger' of collapsing because of it's older architecture.

"They share a common wall with no firewall... So if one building is affected it affects the stability of the neighboring building," McConnell said. "Our goal here is not to have it spread any further, get it under control and then see what the stability of the neighboring buildings are."

One firefighter suffered burn injuries to his hand, but there no reports of other injuries in the incident. NOFD said that only one person was inside the building when the fire started. Investigators are talking to that person.

The six-alarm fire also caused major traffic problems for morning commuters, shutting down roads and public transportation in the immediate area. The river-bound lanes of Canal Street between N. Rampart and Burgundy streets remain closed as of 2:30 p.m. Street car traffic in the median of Canal Street is set to reopen by 3 p.m. according to NOFD.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu praised the firefighters on the scene for their quick response to the blaze.

"They have been doing unbelievable work," Landrieu said. "I am thankful that we have a great team."

The chronology of the fire from the NOFD is as follows:

  • Dispatched to the corner of Canal St. and Roosevelt Way as a one-alarm at 3:23 a.m. The first NOFD companies arrived on the scene at 3:26 a.m. and found a four-story commercial structure in the river-bound 1000 block of Canal St. fully involved.
  • Second and third alarms were call for immediately.
  • A fourth alarm was called for at 3:39 a.m. as the fire began to intensify and fire personnel realized the high probability of the structure’s collapse.
  • Fifth and six alarms were dispatched at 4:00 a.m. and 4:27 a.m. respectively, as the fire began to spread to neighboring businesses.
  • Currently thirty-one NOFD units carrying over 90 Fire Operations and Support personnel are on the scene fighting this fire.
  • Motorists and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area until further notice.
  • Fire is under control as of 11:48 a.m.

New Orleans Director of Homeland Security Aaron Miller says the fire remains under investigation. An official cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

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