December 28, 2010 / 9:06 PM / 8 years ago

Eight dead in New Orleans warehouse fire

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - At least eight people died in an overnight fire in an abandoned warehouse, officials said on Tuesday.

The victims were burning a barrel inside the warehouse in the upper Ninth Ward when the fire spread, said New Orleans Fire Department spokesman Capt. Edwin Holmes.

“They were trapped by the fire inside the building,” he said.

The victims have not been identified, Holmes said. They were dead when the fire department responded to the fire at 1:55 a.m., he said. The temperature in New Orleans dipped below freezing on Tuesday morning.

Two survivors of the fire were quoted by local media as saying they had lit some wood in a trash can to try to stay warm.

Two dogs were also killed in the blaze, authorities said.

A survivor told authorities most of the victims were in their teens and early twenties, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

Some of the people sleeping at the warehouse took showers and had a meal at a local church, its pastor Teresa Reiger told the newspaper. She said they were attracted to New Orleans by the music and vitality of the city.

(Additional reporting by David Beasley and Peter Bohan)

Editing by Jerry Norton

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