One of the three houses involved in the St. Ann Street fire collapsed.
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Firefighters were busy on both sides of the Mississippi River early Friday morning.
In the 2200 Block of St. Ann Street, people were scrounging for scraps after three vacant houses were destroyed by flames.
"I was sleeping in the front on the sofa and I saw the orange flames come through my blinds, so I automatically hopped up, I thought it was next door, that's what frightened me and I opened that door, boom, flames all in my face," said Audra Howard, who lives across the street from the fire scene.
"And I was worried about the wind because all of a sudden the wind could have blown it to the next house, and then it could have hit that post right there where the electricity is," said her young son, Lawrence Howard.
New Orleans firefighters responded to the three-alarm blaze before dawn.
"About 5 a.m. firefighters received a call of a fire, they arrived on the scene within five minutes and found three vacant structures heavily involved," said NOFD Fire Chief Tim McConnell. "Those are all a total loss. The main structure collapsed,"
He said the houses had no connected utilities, and the cause of the fire was not immediately known.
"Quite often, these structures - they're not secured, and it might be someone seeking shelter in it," said McConnell.
Across the river in Terrytown, a fire at an apartment complex displaced four families.
"Might have been food on the stove, probably, that seems to be the most likely thing, but we're still going to investigate it further to make sure that is the case," said Terrytown Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bruce Mills.
The fire broke out in a multiplex at 1004 Eli Court around 4:30 a.m. Four apartments were damaged, and four families were displaced - including four children.
The owner of the building said there may be $200,000 in damage.
"The two front apartments are damaged and the back two. The main damage is water and smoke smell," said Philip Deutch.
The Red Cross said another fire in Meraux in Saint Bernard Parish displaced five people early Friday.