A two-story house on Freret Street in the university area caught fire Wednesday afternoon, displacing the 11 residents of six apartments inside.
Kellie O’Day, a first-floor resident of the house at 5940 Freret, said she had just gotten out of the shower around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, and her husband had left to pick their son from school when she heard glass breaking and someone yelling about a fire. She immediately ran out of the house, she said, without even putting on shoes.
“I got out with nothing, no shoes, nothing,” O’Day said. “By the time I got out and across the street, the whole top floor was on fire.”
Martavius Lovall and Zak Delis, two Tulane neuroscience graduate students who live on the second floor, were also home when the fire broke out.
“We were just going about our daily business when all of a sudden, we got a frantic knock at the door, like, ‘Fire! Get the hell out!'” Delis said.
When they got into the hallway, they could feel the heat from the blaze, Lovall said.
“We haven’t gotten any clue what happened,” Lovall said. “We heard it happened really fast.”
The second floor was already “engulfed in heavy flames” when firefighters arrived at 2:46 p.m., according to a New Orleans Fire Department news release. The fire had started on the front of the second floor, and spread to the attic apartment, the release states.
“It was reported that not all units had working smoke alarms,” the release states. “Firefighters made secondary searches of each apartment to make sure everyone got out safely.”
O’Day said she didn’t believe anyone was seriously injured, but that a man in a blue shirt who kept going in and out of the building checking for residents was treated by EMS. He had cut his foot, according to the Fire Department news release, and paramedics later took him from the scene on a stretcher.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The 49 firefighters on 19 units that responded brought the fire under control by 3:21 p.m., the release states.
This article is still being updated.