French Quarter home collapses
NEW ORLEANS - A building in the French Quarter that suffered a partial collapse late Tuesday afternoon, entirely gave way Wednesday shortly before 1 p.m., according to WWL-TV in New Orleans.
No one was injured in the collapse, but a reporter on the scene said the collapse and ensuing cloud of dust made people in the vicinity run for cover.
Royal Street from St. Ann to Dumaine Street were still closed off to pedestrian and vehicle traffic after the historic New Orleans home's partial collapse yesterday.
Crumbling bricks and mortar rained down onto the 800 block of Royal Street shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and the area filled with NOFD firefighters, emergency responders and Entergy technicians. The unusual sight also drew a crowd of on-lookers as the wall of the three-story French Quarter residence tumbled down to the pavement.
One witness reported seeing large amounts of dust and some dripping water along with the smell of gas. Fire officials say no one was home when the partial collapse happened, and no pedestrians were in the area at the time to be injured by the falling debris.
The road closures and remnants of wall that remain in the street concern area business owners and their patrons as they wonder how long it will take to get the mess cleaned up. A store next to the collapsed building is forced to stay closed until the job is complete.
Investigators are still trying to figure out why the wall and its connected balcony collapsed. NOFD spokesperson Captain Edwin Holmes told WWL-TV that while the building is old like most of "The Quarter", the age of structure alone does not explain why part of the structure came down on Tuesday and then completely gave way the following day.
Firefighters worked past sunset to continue efforts to stabilize the building, and Entergy workers shut off power and gas to prevent an explosion after a small gas leak was confirmed by investigators.
Residents of the area were forced to wait until the workers called it quits to return to their homes for the night.
According to the City of New Orleans, Royal Street from Dumaine to St. Ann will remain closed to car and pedestrian traffic until further notice.
Image: Meg Farris, WWL-TV