NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans firefighters are battling a five-alarm fire in Central City.
The fire was reported around 5:15 a.m. on Monday in the 1800 block of Baronne St. The NOFD said the fire started at an abandoned building and jumped to an adjacent townhouse.
NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell said neighbors reported people were squatting in the building where the fire started.
No injures have been reported, but firefighters had to rescue three people from a balcony and one person from a room in the townhouse.
Several nearby buildings were evacuated.
McConnell said the fire started in the rear of the abandoned building, but it is unclear what caused the flames.
The fire chief said the flames “got away from them” because the initial rescues tied up responding crews.
Firefighers were close to getting the fire under control around 9 a.m.
A two-story house involved in the fire looked like a complete loss, according to McConnell. Crews dumped water on the roof until it collapsed.
One victim said he immediately knew something was wrong.
“I turned over and I looked toward my window and when I looked out my window. It had an orange reflection coming from it and it looked almost like a lava lamp in a sense,” said fire Kamal Packer. “I said dude you may want to get up, so I got up and went to my window and sure enough I heard crackling noises.”
A law student who was staying at the house and preparing to graduate said he lost everything. He was among 17 residents displaced in surrounding houses. It is unclear how many people were in the blue two story house that was destroyed.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Baronne St. is closed from Felicity St. to Jackson Ave. Officials are asking people to avoid the area and use alternate routes.