NEW ORLEANS - A large fire in the Broadmoor neighborhood required dozens of firefighters to work on the abandoned home where the fire began and the fourplex next door.
No one was injured in the fire, but fire units remained on the scene nearly 10 hours later to keep an eye on hotspots.
The fire broke out around 8:30 a.m. near the intersection of South Rocheblave and General Taylor. Photos from neighbors showed massive flames coming from one of the homes.
By the time fire units arrived, the two buildings were almost completely engulfed.
"They were in the house, trying to get into the attic," said New Orleans Fire Dept. Superintendent Tim McConnell. "Unfortunately, the fire progressed ahead of them and we wound up having to pull everybody out."
One man who was going in to the fourplex was writer Gideon Hodge, who said he had to get inside to retrieve his laptop, which contained the only copies of two unpublished books.
"There was no second thought about it," Hodge said. "If I had gotten burnt - whatever - I can't lose something like that. Anybody who has ever created art, there is no replacing that. At least I got that and the cat's safe and my fiancee wasn't home."
The fire department said it does not recommend anyone running into a burning building.
Neighbors said the abandoned home had been a problem in the area for years, a problem McConnell says his crew has seen before.
"Once again, we're battling a fire in an abandoned structure that had been vacant and gutted and not been properly maintained by the owner."