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'Devastating' - Three businesses go up in flames in massive Mid City fire

No one was hurt in a massive 3-alarm fire in the Bayou St. John area of Mid City early Monday morning.

NEW ORLEANS -- Flames shot high above a Mid-City warehouse that was home to three businesses along Bayou St. John during a spectacular predawn fire Monday.

The fire started just before 5 a.m. in the right back corner of the building near Toulouse Street and South Jefferson Davis Parkway.

Firefighters initially attacked the fire from outside the building because it was in danger of collapse from the time they arrived.

“Because of the type of construction is called a trust construction, where you have light weight metal members holding up the roof and everything and once they get exposed, they distort and collapse fairly easily,” said New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell.

WATCH: NOFD update on massive 3-alarm fire in Bayou St. John. Story continues under video

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McConnell also noted that firefighters were further hindered by a lack of sprinklers in the building.

“There are several complications in this type of building without having an internal suppression system,” McConnell said. “Generally in a building like this you would prefer to see sprinklers which would have kept the fire in check.”

Slideshow: Massive 3-alarm fire in Bayou St. John

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The building at Toulouse St. and Jeff Davis Parkway was home to three businesses: a furniture store, an art studio and Kathleen McCall's apparel store NOLA Til Ya Die.

McCall watched her business go up in smoke from her apartment across the street at the American Can building.

"It's almost like your adrenaline kicks in, your whole body tingles and all your blood drops," McCall said. "That's what it feels like. It's just shock."

WATCH: 'Devastating' - Business owner reacts to massive 3-alarm fire in Bayou St. John.

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Firefighters saved a flag that hung in the doorway of McCall's shop.

"Put me on the phone with my Mom and I can't even talk, I'm in tears. I don't know which is worse -- seeing all those flames like they were or this right now,” McCall said after the flames were gone. “I'm watching floors fall down."

The Mid-City Vineyard church was preparing a space inside the warehouse and was supposed to move in next month.

Pastor Brian Jeansome said the fire was incredibly sad.

"I got the call this morning around 5 o'clock and I just came and watched the building burn," Jeansome said. "We're just trying to grapple with it now."

The fire went to three alarms with 18 NOFD department units and more than 60 firefighters responding. No one was injured.

They kept water on the building for most of the day as smoke, which could be seen as far away as St. Charles Parish, filled the air.

The New Orleans Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are now investigating the cause of the fire.

"Unfortunately, as you can see, the building is going to be a total loss," McConnell said.

Charles Hoffacker Fine Art is another business destroyed in the fire.

Hoffacker, an artist and NOPD detective, lost all of his art supplies and several irreplaceable paintings.

There is a GoFundMe account set up to help him get back on his feet.

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