Massive fire rips through French Quarter hotel, injuring two firefighters
NEW ORLEANS - A 6-alarm fire at a historic Chartres Street hotel ravaged the French Quarter and left two firefighters injured Thursday night.
According to WWL-TV, first responders with the New Orleans Fire Department wrestled the massive blaze for more than six hours before it was extinguished.
A total of 80 firefighters worked together to battle flames in the Quarter House hotel near Charters and Canal streets, with crews still on the scene putting out hot spots 6 a.m. Friday.
According to NOFD Chief Tim McConnell, everyone inside the 19th Century building escaped safely when the fire broke out, but the top of the structure and the roof line sustained extensive damage.
Two firefighters were hospitalized for smoke inhalation but were reported to be in good condition.
The first firefighters were called to the hotel at 7:50 p.m., and by 8:20 p.m. were forced to pull out of the building as the fire intensified near the top floors and a third alarm was called.
As the first responders were exiting the hotel, two firefighters were separated from their companies and trapped inside, McConnell said. Crews ran back into the building to find them, and were able to get them out when they made it to a window.
"The firefighter managed to find his way to a front window and he was rescued using one of our aerial ladders," McConnell said about one of the rescues.
The two firefighters were transported to University Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation; both were reportedly talking, in good condition and were monitored overnight by hospital staff.
By 10 p.m., firefighters were back inside the building fighting the fire from inside as more crews arrived at the scene. The sixth and final alarm was called by 11:15 p.m. to relieve personnel who were fighting to prevent spread to nearby structures.
By 2 a.m., the fire was deemed under control.
The cause of the fire is now under investigation, but guests who spoke to local reporters said they heard explosions as they were evacuating.
"I ran upstairs to go back my family. As we were coming downstairs, there was another explosion as well," one woman said.
According to the Historic New Orleans Collection's Vieux Carre Digital Survey, the structure was built between 1837 and 1840. James Gallier and Thomas Stackhouse were the architects.
McConnell said that due to the type of construction, firefighters are working defensively to contain the fire and keep it from spreading to any other nearby buildings.