Department says former Holiday Inn is a "known haven for vagrants"
83 New Orleans firefighters battled an extra alarm blaze late Thursday night at an abandoned hotel at 6324 Chef Menteur Highway.
Smoke was pouring from the former Holiday Inn when firefighters arrived at 10:46pm. Extra manpower and equipment had to be called at 11:21pm and a total of 29 pieces of equipment were involved in extinguishing the fire.
It appears the fire was confined to the first floor of the building.
The fire department says the 9-story structure is a "known haven for vagrants."
NOFD Superintendent Charles Parent said "a fire in an abandoned high rise like this is a fire department's worst nightmare."
"The lack of a working sprinkler system increase the threat of the fire vertically through elevator shafts and vents...couple that with the condition of the structure and the possibility of multiple persons trapped and it makes for a severe life-safety risk for my firefighters," the chief added.
Two firefighters were treated on the scene. One suffered a puncture wound to a hand and another complained of exhaustion.