A one-alarm blaze that started inside a vacant house in Central City late Thursday morning began spreading to a home next door, and three people inside the neighboring house had to be led out by firefighters.
Those rescued were a 51-year-old man and two boys, ages 3 and 4. None was injured or required medical treatment, New Orleans Fire Department 2nd District Chief Rudy Taranto said.
Because the home where the fire started had no running electricity or gas, firefighters suspect a vagrant may have caused the blaze, but the cause remained under investigation, Taranto said.
New Orleans firefighters received a call that a home in the 1500 block of South Liberty Street was on fire at 11:07 a.m., Taranto said. About 25 firefighters responded and had the blaze under control by 11:35 a.m.
Before then, flames had begun to scorch the outside of the neighboring house, but firefighters prevented the blaze from getting inside it, Taranto said.
The man and the boys were sitting on the sidewalk across the street after the fire was brought under control. The man declined to give his name or speak for an interview but said the two boys were his sons.
Thursday was not the first time that the house they were staying in had been threatened by fire. In October 2008, a fire around the corner in the 2300 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard destroyed two vacant homes before it spread to the home whose exterior was charred Thursday.
That fire displaced a family of six people after it made its way inside. On Thursday, the man said that family had moved out.