8 Young Homeless Squatters Killed in New Orleans Fire

They were burning debris in warehouse to keep warm
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 28, 2010 4:35 PM CST
The charred remains of an abandoned warehouse are seen in New Orleans.   (Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – The deadliest city blaze in decades killed eight homeless squatters who were burning debris in an abandoned warehouse to stay warm, authorities said. Firefighters said they could not tell the ages or genders of the victims, but agencies that work with the homeless said they believe some or all the victims were in their late teens or early 20s.

A 23-year-old man who escaped told the American Red Cross he could not get back in to help his friends because of the smoke.Temperatures were just below freezing, not unheard of but unusually cold for New Orleans. The warehouse is in a blighted city neighborhood left even more so by the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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