NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans fire department crews were called to the scene of a four-alarm fire in the 1600 block of Marigny Street.
New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Timothy McConnell said the fire was discovered and reported by an NOFD hazardous materials officer who just happened to be driving by and saw the smoke flames.
"I heard popping noises, like a pop, pop, not knowing what it is, came out, the fire department bammed on the door, 'Fire Department! Get out of the house!!' Jumped up, 'Oh my god what?!' Ran and got my daughter out the back, and said, 'Come on! Our house is on fire," Elysia Smith, whose home was destroyed by the fire, said.
Fire crews arrived at the scene at 9:12 a.m. and the fire was put under control just after 10 a.m.
McConnell said the fire started in an unoccupied home and quickly spread to two others. While the home was unoccupied, officials believe it was illegally occupied before the fire started.
"It's the first thing that came to my head, 'I knew it, I knew it!' Those crackheads, I've been telling them for years to stop. I got into an argument with one a few months ago, I said stay out of the yard, if this house catches fire my house will catch fire. And it did," Smith said.
One person was evacuated unharmed from one of the other homes damaged by the fire.
The fire escalated quickly from two to three alarms. A fourth alarm was added to account for staffing.
The house where the fire started was completely destroyed. A school bus parked next to the house was also destroyed.
While officials believe the home was unoccupied at the time of the fire, canine units will search the scene to look for anyone who may have perished in the blaze.
The city will demolish all three structures once NOFD declares the site clear, but the victims said it's too little, too late.
"[There are] abandoned houses all over this place, tear them down, this is ridiculous. What is it going to take, for a whole family to go up in flames in one of these houses," Smith said.
One of the buildings set to be demolished was an occupied, two family structure. The other two were both vacant two-family homes that had previously been declared blighted by the city.