New Orleans, LA—Eight people lost their lives when flames engulfed an abandoned building in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans Tuesday morning, Dec. 28, 2010. According to information provided by WWLTV, the fire was described as the “worst single fire fatality” the city has seen in nearly twenty years.
Reports indicated a group of at least 10 seemingly homeless people were seeking shelter from the cold when they made their way into the building, located near St. Ferdinand and North Prieur.
According to one of two known survivors, some of the people who had been staying in the abandoned building had been doing so for about a month.
The survivors contended the group lit some wood on fire in a container to make the frigid temperatures more bearable. Though the building broke out in flames Tuesday morning, the survivors said some of the victims were already unconscious.
Fire Department spokesman Greg Davis seemed to believe those who were already unconscious were likely overcome by carbon monoxide in the air. “When you burn something in a closed area, you’re going to build up carbon monoxide,” he explained.
It was not clear how long it took firefighters to control the blaze, which broke out around 2 a.m.
Neither the victims nor the survivors have been identified.
A full investigation was expected to be underway.
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