NEW ORLEANS -- The flames were so large at the Mid-City warehouse fire this morning, it took 18 units and 60 firefighters to battle the massive blaze.
The warehouse, located on Toulouse near Bayou St. John, held three businesses and an art studio, including Canal Furniture Liquidators, Nola Til You Die, and the studio of NOPD detective artist Charles Hoffacker.
An employee who worked at one of those businesses, Canal Furniture Liquidators, saw his workplace burn all morning long.
"The flames were another hundred feet above where the building is. This is very unfortunate, I've never seen anything like this. This is terrible," says displaced-employee Mark Lehman.
"As you can see from the footage, the building will be a total loss for sure," says New Orleans Fire Chief, Tim McConnell.
Another business inside of the warehouse was a tee-shirt business named "Nola Til Ya Die."
The owners were on the scene and watched the devastation play out.
"I mean, that, that is my store that I have been building over the last couple of years. It's more than just a store for me... it's a community," says owner of Canal Furniture Liquidators Holas Hannan.
"There aren't words. I put my heart and soul, so have a lot of other people, into the business, and I've been watching it burn for four hours," says owner of Nola Til Ya Die, Kathleen McCall.
"It's very unfortunate, you feel for people in our community when that happens. [It's] an economic loss to obviously the owner and then to the community and businesses like this. I'm told there were three businesses in here and at this point, like I said, we are in defensive mode trying to make sure the fire is contained to this building and doesn't affect any of the neighboring buildings," says Chief McConnell.
Store owners may be suffering a loss, but are already being proactive and discussing ways to start over.
"We're going to rebuild. We are going to find another place but its going to be hard. It's where my heart is, and it's a great place it's going to be hard to find a place to house us again," says Hannan.
Chief McConnell says firefighters will be working diligently for the rest of the day and won't be able to determine what caused the fire until investigators can get inside.
Due to safety conditions, he says part of the building will have to be torn down before investigators can enter.