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110 Firefighters Respond to French Quarter Fire

110 Firefighters Respond to French Quarter Fire

Kayla Baxter | FireLink

April 11, 2011

Investigators are looking into reports that a suspicious person was seen entering a for-sale historic property owned by Regions Bank on the Vieux Carre block that erupted in flame Thursday morning. The blaze gutted the interior of the building and damaged three buildings in total.

Parts of the building fell onto Ursuline Street, presenting a major challenge to the responding firefighters and sending bricks and other debris flying onto cars parked on the street. “Flames were coming out of the roof when they got here,” said Deputy Fire Chief Tim McConnell. First responders found no one inside the building after a primary and secondary search. Firefighters at the scene did a tremendous job protecting the neighboring buildings and prevented further devastation to a town already rebuilding its architectural gems.

“Everything in the Quarter has walls — brick walls, masonry walls, fire walls we call them — separating them that extend above the roof and that’s probably our biggest ally in these battles in these historic areas,” said McConnell.

A resident of a nearby complex reported the suspicious man entering the historic building. “He cut the bolt and went in there,” he said. “I thought he was the owner of the building, because he was well dressed, but I wake up this morning and the building’s on fire.”

Interestingly, the building was set to be sold to an investor for $762,000 within a week’s time. According to the bank’s real estate agent, the property can be salvaged, but the deal is probably kaput.

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