Fire heavily damaged the old Kenner High School building early Monday morning.
The Kenner Fire Department received a call around 12:30 a.m. that flames could be seen from the building. When firefighters arrived, flames and smoke were coming out of the second floor windows and across the roof.
Acting Fire Chief Stan Genovese says the historic landmark was built with huge timbers that contributed to the fire growing rapidly.
“Everyone did a good job,” Genovese said. “Sometimes fires look simple, but our teams handled the obstacles to protect what we could. It’s unfortunate that the historical building may be a loss, but there were no injuries of first responders. The skeleton remains as we continue to extinguish the fire.”
Representatives with the State Fire Marshall's office are on the scene to conduct an arson investigation once the building is deemed safe to enter. Kenner city officials note the building did not have power.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn urged caution for residents in the area. “We ask for drivers to truly consider another route this morning. Once the fire is extinguished, we will be barricading the area as the investigation continues.”
Smoke was drifting towards Armstrong Airport's control tower and runway, but flights were taking off as scheduled.
The old Kenner High School has sat vacant since 1996. It was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 and in 2012 named one of the New Orleans area’s nine most endangered historic sites by the Louisiana Landmark Society.
The city recently received a grant to renovate the building and put it back into use.
Photos: Kenner Fire Department