Six-alarm fire razes most of city block in Uptown New Orleans

Firefighters battled a six-alarm fire Saturday in the 3300 block of First Street in the city’s Uptown area, according to the New Orleans Fire Department.

Thirty-four units and 100 fire personnel started arriving at the scene at 2:59 p.m. to find three dwellings in the 3300 block of First Street engulfed in flames, a spokesman said.

The fire continued to spread and more alarms were sounded until the sixth, and final, alarm was dispatched at 3:53 p.m., the Fire Department reported.

Several vehicles in the block were destroyed either from direct fire contact or exposure to radiant heat, according to a Fire Department news release.

The fire was brought under control at 4:21 p.m. and no occupants or Fire Department personnel were injured during this incident, according to the report.

“Once we got there, you already had two abandoned doubles, they were large units, and one occupied single-family home that was converted from a double,” said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Edwin Holmes Jr.

“At that point, everything is defensive from there,” Holmes said.

“Keep in mind the close proximity of these homes, the dilapidated condition of some of these homes, dry-rotted, open walls, nothing to stop the fire from spreading.

“Once one catches,” Holmes said, “it makes it extremely difficult to contain the fire if the rest of the neighborhood is in that condition.”

Holmes said since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, firefighters have responded to multiple fires in dilapidated, abandoned homes, but none of Saturday’s magnitude.

The Fire Department set up a fire-watch Saturday night to assure that all hot spots had been extinguished.

Entergy Gas and Electric, the New Orleans Police Department and New Orleans Emergency Medical Services all assisted in dealing with the fire, according to the report.

The American Red Cross responded to assist displaced residents and provide canteen service for firefighters and personnel assisting in the emergency.

The cause of the fire was under investigation by the Fire Department.

Below is a list issued by the Fire Department of known damage from this fire:

  • 3305 First St., single-family occupied dwelling, completely destroyed and residents displaced.
  • 3307-09 First St., unoccupied and abandoned double, completely destroyed.
  • 3311-13 First St., unoccupied and abandoned double, completely destroyed.
  • Multi-unit, abandoned and unoccupied dwelling on First St. (address obscured) completely destroyed.
  • 2333-2331A-B S. Prieur St., occupied multi-unit, camel-back dwelling, completely destroyed. Three families displaced.
  • 3301AB-3303AB First St., four-unit converted double, under renovation with one unit occupied received significant fire damage and the resident is displaced.
  • 2344-46 S. Roman, received roof damage from flying embers.