Methane gas could be cause behind French Quarter explosion

An explosion was reported in the French Quarter on Monday (Dec. 16). Police said a car might...
An explosion was reported in the French Quarter on Monday (Dec. 16). Police said a car might have been the source.(WVUE)
Updated: Dec. 16, 2019 at 5:47 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Colonel Terry Ebbert, the city’s director of public safety, says this morning’s French Quarter explosion was likely caused when methane gas, from a city sewer line, was sparked and exploded.

The explosion happened shortly after 5 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 16.

The incident caused at least four manhole covers to go flying in the air near the intersection of Dauphine and Toulouse Street. It also caused two cars to catch fire.

Eric Hatten lives on the 500 block of Dauphine Street, where he says the sound of an explosion woke him.

“I heard a lot of loud explosions, but I thought it was gunfire. I didn’t really know to be honest with you, so I walked outside, the smoke was terrible so

I went back inside," Hatten said.

He gave us this video captured around 5 a.m. showing the front of a Honda and the back of a red car engulfed in flames and smoke.

Neighbor Kelly Dugas and her dog had to evacuate.

“It was really scary. At first, kind of thought it was thunder and lightning. Then, it sounded like gunshots. Then, you hear an explosion," Dugas said.

Dugas says her home didn’t suffer damage, but the one next to her did.

“Next door to me, there’s a house that’s being renovated that the manhole cover is completely off the ground, and all the windows in the building has exploded. they’re all shattered,” Dugas said.

She says her home filled with smoke as well.

Residents in the area were shut out of their homes for hours and had to wait for police to confirm they’re allowed back in the area.

A witness said she heard people screaming “get out of the way, get out of the way, move.” She said someone told her to stay in her house.

Several windows in the area are broken.

Entergy trucks arrived on the scene shortly after the explosion. They said crews looked at the manhole and determined it did not have anything to do with the power company.

The S&WB also said its crews did not find anything connected to the agency.

Investigators are looking at a black sedan.

No injuries have been reported.

This story is developing.

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