JEFFERSON, La. - Thick smoke billowed from the A-AAA: Key Mini Storage facility on Jefferson Highway at Clearview Parkway Monday night.
Katelyn Guthans was in tears outside. She said the fire destroyed the unit where she stored her treasured wedding gifts.
“I lost everything. It went up in flames,” said Guthans. “Everything is gone, and I was looking to buy a new place to live.”
Smoke from the three-alarm blaze grew so heavy, it clouded vision for drivers on the Huey P. Long, prompting officials to shut the bridge down at the height of rush hour.
“I've been sitting in traffic now for two hours,” said commuter Ken Wackowski. “The toughest part is just sitting.”
“It's a little bit frustrating when you're trying to get home after a hard day's work, but nothing we can do,” said E.J. Senac, a Harahan resident who also spent two hours waiting to get on the bridge.
The bridge reopened around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, more than two hours after it closed. Some waiting in traffic came home to dark houses.
Senac was one of more than 8,000 Entergy customers who lost power Tuesday night in the Harahan and River Ridge areas.
Entergy said equipment failed at its Harahan plant. A spokeswoman was unsure if the failure was related to the fire.
“We were sitting watch TV doing homework with my daughter and everything went black,” said Harahan resident Jessica Lehrmann.
The power has since been restored.
Meanwhile, Guthans is working to pick up the pieces after the fire destroyed her belongings.
“Now I have nothing,” Guthans said. "I have to start all over again.”
Entergy is still looking into why its equipment failed. And the fire department is still investigating what sparked the blaze.