NOPD: 1 shot to death, 1 found dead during Urquhart St. house fire investigation

NOPD: 1 shot to death, 1 found dead during Urquhart St. house fire investigation
The New Orleans Fire Department is investigating a fatal house fire in the St. Claude neighborhood Thursday night. (Source: NOFD)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department says one of two victims found dead inside a house fire had a gunshot wound.

The department is investigating the gunshot wound victim as a homicide and the other as an unclassified death.

The property owner tells us the two were nurses.

Flames spewed out of the home, located on Desire Street, last night. It took 43 New Orleans fire personnel 20 minutes to control the two-alarm fire on the 1300 block of desire street.

New Orleans firefighters were called to the St. Claude neighborhood Thursday night around 8:40 p.m.

Firefighters arrived at the house near the corner of Urquhart and Desire streets to find heavy fire coming from the front of the home and side windows.

A second alarm was quickly called to help bring the fire under control.

Once the fire was under control just after 9 p.m., firefighters searched the home and found a man in the back of the home. They later also found a second man inside of a bedroom in the middle of the home. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

“We were really just in shock,” Mimi Spiehler, property owner said.

“It was just emitting from these first 6 windows and then 7 and 8 blew out as I was walking down the street,” the neighbor said.

Spiehler says they built the home nearly two years ago and the tenants were fairly new

“They were two really nice guys. Nurses working COVID, so your heart kind of goes out to them,” Spiehler said.

One neighbor says she was friendly with the two and they often looked out for one another.

Investigators say one of the victims had an apparent gunshot wound and the cause of death for the second man is unknown.

“It’s really sad to think that two people were in the house,” Spiehler said

According to an initial NOPD report, one of the victims was 59 years old. The NOPD did not release the age of the second victim.

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office will determine the official cause of death. The deaths and fire are under criminal investigation.

Call Homicide Det. Leonard Bendy at 504-658-5300 or @CrimestopperGNO Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 with any information you might have about the homicide.

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