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New Orleans Fire Hits 8 Buildings

August 30, 2002

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A seven-alarm fire in a block of New Orleans’ historic garden district Friday damaged eight buildings, leaving several people homeless and killing an estimated 40 pets.

Susan Suthon, an American Red Cross worker on the scene, estimated at least six families lost their homes in the fire, which was reported around 6:30 a.m. and raged out of control until 11 a.m.

Among businesses destroyed by the fire was The Cat Practice veterinary office and an adjacent kennel, both packed with animals that were being boarded for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Katherine Williams, a veterinarian, said only three cats were rescued among 25 at The Cat Practice. About 50 cats and dogs were in the neighboring kennel, most of which were rescued, said Elizabeth Bell, co-owner of the kennel.

But numerous cats belonging to people in apartments above the businesses perished.

The fire started on the upper floors of a stained glass studio and spread to adjoining buildings, Roman Nelson, spokesman for the fire department said.

The lower garden district of New Orleans is a historic neighborhood of 19th century buildings, many of them renovated in recent years as part of a neighborhood revitalization project.

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