Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- Firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze near a popular Mid-City restaurant Wednesday night.

The fire happened in the 3700 block of Iberville Street around 7 p.m.

More than an hour after the Mid City blaze began, small flames still leapt out of the attic. About 50 firefighters worked to knock out the massive two-alarm blaze that shot through the side of this vacant house near Katie's Restaurant.

The fire also spread a shed and a car at the apartment complex next door.

'They were huge,' said neighbor Veronica Bradham. 'They were absolutely huge. I've never seen flames that large before in my life.' Firefighters say the flames quickly spread from the ground floor to the attic, running through the floor and making it difficult to stay ahead of the blaze.

'It's probably about 80 percent damaged right now,' said NOFD Deputy Chief Glenn Trainor. 'It's going to require a lot of extensive work.'

The house has been under renovation for several years after it was damaged in Katrina. Its owner believes heat lamps left on in an effort to dry a leak during renovations earlier Wednesday may have sparked the blaze.

He didn't want to go on camera, but said he plans to finish renovations no matter how long it takes.

'It is sad,' said neighbor Kristopher Atcheson. 'I mean I really feel sorry for the guy. I mean my heart goes out to him. Just thankfully, it was vacant and no one was in the house.'

No one was injured.

Firefighters say an investigator will look into what caused the blaze, but they say it looks like the owner's theory is right.

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