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NEWORLEANS - New Orleans firefighters battled a three-alarm fire in a vacant building in Mid-City Friday morning.

The fire broke out near Broad Street and Bienville Street around 6:30 a.m. It was under control shortly before 8 a.m.

The owner of the building told firefighters that the building was set to be demolished later that day and had been unoccupied since Hurricane Katrina.

Firefighters discovered an open door in the rear of the building and found evidence, including mattresses, that vagrants had been living inside.

'When they first arrived on the scene, they had heavy fire blowing out of the front of the building and impinging on the power lines there. Their main concern was trying to stop it from affecting the grid system. They did a real good job of getting it knocked down,' said Deputy Chief Timothy McConnell.

Flames could be seen burning through the roof of the wooden two-story building. The fire had burned through a portion of the front facade of the building.Tires that were inside the building presented challenges for firefighters. A portion of the second floor eventually collapsed.

A convenient store is located next door and firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading there and to other locations, according to McConnell.

Smoke could be smelled for blocks around the area.

There are no reported injuries, McConnell said.

EMS and Red Cross were also on the scene.

A total of 21 units and 68 firefighters responded to the call.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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