NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)– The New Orleans Fire Department is investigating a three-alarm fire in a Hollygrove neighborhood that happened early Wednesday morning.

According to firefighters, at 6:16 a.m., neighbors in the 3000 block of Eagle Street called 911 to report a fire at a vacant home.

When officials arrived at 6:22 a.m., they quickly found the flames had spread to the two neighboring homes and called for a second and third alarm.

NOFD said neighbors saw vagrants leaving the house at the time of the fire with one trying to put the fire out with bucket of water but were unsuccessful because of the overwhelming heat. According to a spokesman for the fire department, they left before firefighters arrived.

The fire was brought under control by 7:37 a.m. with the help of 21 units and 55 firefighters.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Just hours earlier, firefighters battled flames at a vacant apartment building on Springbrook Lane on the West Bank.

“Yes, it tests the manpower,” said Greg Davis, the fire department spokesman. “These same guys that were fighting that fire are fighting this fire.”

According to Mayor LaToya Cantrell, there are thousands of vacant structures in the city, some existing before Hurricane Katrina and others, afterward

Cantrell says her administration is prioritizing blighted properties.

“This particular property that caught fire is being demolished today through an emergency contractor that is always on site for us, should we need to respond in such a manner,” said Cantrell.

The mayor says there are more than enough people working in Code Enforcement to get a handle on the city’s blighted properties.

“So, one, I’m glad that this property has been demolished, absolutely,” said Cantrell. “There are many in our city that we would hope that we can get to sooner rather than later. All of them are vitally important, and we’ll continue to do the work.”

To further complicate matters, according to District A Councilman Joseph Giarrusso, the owner of the damaged homes recently had taken an appeal, which prohibits demolition.

The final decision will be made by an appellate court.

We reached out to Code Enforcement to see if a fire makes the appeal moot, and we are awaiting a response.

As of Wednesday evening, according to a spokesman for the mayor, the houses will be demolished next week.