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Major fire in French Quarter injures 2 firefighters, ravages 19th Century hotel

Chief McConnell said everyone escaped the building safely. Firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze for hours.

NEW ORLEANS — A 6-alarm fire at a historic Chartres Street hotel lit up the French Quarter and left two firefighters injured Thursday night. 

It took the New Orleans Fire Department more than six hours and 80 firefighters to stop the fire at the Quarter House hotel near Charters and Canal streets, with crews still on the scene putting out hot spots 6 a.m. Friday. 

According to NOFD Chief Tim McConnell, everyone inside the 19th Century building escaped safely when the fire broke out, but damage to roof line and top of the structure is extensive. 

Two firefighters were hospitalized for smoke inhalation but were reported to be in good condition.

The first firefighters were called to the hotel at 7:50 p.m., and by 8:20 p.m. were forced to pull out of the building as the fire intensified near the top floors and a third alarm was called. 

As the first responders were exiting the hotel, a firefighter was separated from his company and trapped inside, McConnell said. Crews ran back into the building to find him, and were able to get him out when they made it to a window.

"The firefighter managed to find his way to a front window and he was rescued using one of our aerial ladders," McConnell said about one of the rescues.

Another firefighter suffered similar injuries while fighting the blaze but was not trapped in the building, McConnell said. 

The two firefighters were transported to University Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation; both were reportedly talking, in good condition and were monitored overnight by hospital staff.  

By 10 p.m., firefighters were back inside the building fighting the fire from inside as more crews arrived at the scene. The sixth and final alarm was called by 11:15 p.m. to relieve personnel who were fighting to prevent spread to nearby structures. 

By 2 a.m., the fire was deemed under control. 

The cause of the fire is now under investigation, but guests who spoke to WWL-TV said they heard explosions as they were evacuating. 

"I ran upstairs to go back my family. As we were coming downstairs, there was another explosion as well," one woman said. 

According to the Historic New Orleans Collection's Vieux Carre Digital Survey, the structure was built between 1837 and 1840. James Gallier and Thomas Stackhouse were the architects. 

Before that, Baron de Carondelet, gave the land to Francois Lioteaux in 1972 in the name of the King of Spain.

McConnell said that due to the type of construction, firefighters are working defensively to contain the fire and keep it from spreading to any other nearby buildings.

Recent Fires 

The hotel fire is one of several local several businesses damaged in flames in recent days.

Earlier this week, a fire broke out in Lakeview, damaging Parlay's Bar and Lakeview Burgers and Seafood. Two other restaurants suffered smoke damage.

The owner of Parlay's said he believes the fire started in the front of the bar. Officials are investigating what caused the fire. No injuries were reported.

The day before the Lakeview fire, another popular restaurant went up in flames. 

RELATED: Fire destroys Parlay's bar, Lakeview Burgers and Seafood 

Gendusa's Italian Market in Rivertown suffered extensive damage in Tuesday's fire.

No one was hurt. The owner, Troy Gendusa, was on his way in when he saw the smoke.

Since then, Gendusa said the community and other local restaurants have helped him stay afloat. People have been donating all kind of supplies, from spices to a portable industrial-size kitchen.

RELATED: Community helps Gendusa's Italian Market owner serve meals again

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