Residents of N.O. East apartment building relocated after fire

Nearly two dozen people were trying to start over on Monday after a fire, sparked by a lighting strike, destroyed their homes at a New Orleans East apartment complex on Sunday afternoon.

The three-alarm fire at the Wind Run Apartments, 12151 N. Interstate 10 Service Road, gutted a 16-unit building, the New Orleans Fire Department said. On Monday the structure’s roof was open to the elements, while all the doors and windows were boarded up.

Melissa Eugene-Duplantier, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans arm of the American Red Cross, said about 10 people spent Sunday night at an emergency shelter at the Apostolic Outreach Center, 8358 Lake Forrest Blvd. By Monday evening, Wind Run’s management was able to find new units in the complex for most of the 13 families the fire displaced, she said. The remaining three apartments that burned were model units in which no one lived.

“We’re hoping they’re in a more stable environment,” Eugene-Duplantier said of those who once again have a place to stay, though she noted that the work of replacing belongings, such as clothes, furniture and medical supplies, has just begun.

The NOFD was dispatched to the apartment complex at 12:11 p.m. Sunday following a report of smoke in the area.

The first unit on the scene six minutes later found flames spreading through the roof and attic of the two-story building.

Seventy firefighters had the fire under control by 1:49 p.m.

According to witnesses, the fire began after lightning struck the building’s roof.

The fire smoldered for about 15 minutes before anyone noticed, Capt. Edwin Holmes, an NOFD spokesman, said.

Once on scene, firefighters went door-to-door to evacuate residents. No one was injured.