No one was injured in Monday morning’s (April 23) three-alarm fire that destroyed a warehouse in the Bayou St. John neighborhood and sent dark smoke into the sky visible from Algiers Point to Metairie, the New Orleans Fire Department said.
But an owner of one of the three retail businesses housed in the building near the corner of Toulouse Street and North Jefferson Davis Parkway said the damage to Canal Furniture Liquidators marked the loss of “more than just a furniture store.”
“People come in and we redo furniture. We do classes on how to funk it up,” said Holis Hannon, one of the store’s owners, as she watched from the neutral ground while firefighters doused her store and smoke billowed overhead. “It’s like a community of artists, too…My dream was to be able to teach art here, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
NOLA Til Ya Die clothing company was also located in the warehouse that caught fire. NOPD spokesman Capt. Edwin Holmes said a third retail business was located there, but it was not immediately clear which business. Hannon said the building was also used as an art studio.
Firefighters were called at 4:54 a.m. and arrived about six or seven minutes later, NOFD Chief Tim McConnell said. There was a slight delay, he said, because firefighters were initially called to the 3200 block of Toulouse, across Bayou St. John, and the warehouse is located in the 3500 block. The fire was declared under control by NOFD by 10:06 a.m., about five hours after the first units arrived. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
“Unfortunately, as you can see from the footage, the building will be a total loss, for sure,” McConnell said.
An apartment was also located in the building, the chief said, but it was vacant. The nature of the building made it a “difficult” fire to fight because sheet metal siding quickly collapses when exposed to that much heat, McConnell said.
In NOLA Til Ya Die’s Instagram post, the New Orleans-themed clothing company stated, “We know we will make it through this hard time with the support of our friends and family. New Orleans strong. Resilience is something we all know well.”
Hannon said she plans to rebuild Canal Furniture Liquidators. “We’ll have a fresh start, I guess.”
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SOURCE: NOLA.com, Emily Lane