At least 8 dead, 2 survive fire in abandoned building

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NEW ORLEANS - At least eight people have died after a massive fire in an abandoned warehouse in the Ninth Ward Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson tells Eyewitness News' Jill Hezeau that a group of people had been staying in the building near the intersection of St. Ferdinand and North Prieur in an attempt to stay warm and that two people who survived said they had lit some wood a trash can to try to stay warm.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. on another morning with temperatures near or below freezing.

Fire Department Supt. Charles Parent said eight are confirmed dead with two survivors but that search dogs will be used once the scene cools down to see if there are other bodies in the rubble.

"There's a lot of damage in the building," he said. "Right now it's too hot to send them into the area."

Parent said the fire department has a program to check abandoned buildings and to close them up and secure them but said the number of them makes it near impossible to guarantee that all are closed up properly.

“It’s the sheer number of buildings but once you check a building and if you are gone some length of time, (it can be opened up again.)"

One of the survivors told Hezeau that she believed most of the victims were in their teens or 20s and that some may have been from out of town, as she was.