A three-alarm fire broke out in the Austerlitz Baptist Church on Friday morning (Sept. 9), the New Orleans Fire Department reported.
Firefighters arrived at 9:24 a.m. to find heavy smoke billowing from the rear of the church at 819 Austerlitz St., a block from Magazine Street in the Touro-Bouligny neighborhood.
Two people said saw a “ball of fire” coming from a pipe when they turned on the lights, the NOFD said. The fire climbed through the walls into the attic.
The blaze threatened neighboring homes, so firefighters sounded a second alarm for more units.
A third alarm went out at 9:42, as firefighters cut into walls and ceilings to extinguish blazes inside the walls and in the attic. Firefighters brought the fire under control within an hour.
The building was heavily damaged, but no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation. There had been recent gas and electrical problems in the 168-year-old church building, according to media reports.
Twenty-two firetrucks carrying 56 personnel were used to bring the fire under control. Entergy New Orleans, the New Orleans Police Department and Emergency Medical Services were also called in.