Superdome fire not expected to delay already scheduled events

Here's where the fire started on the roof of the Superdome in the gutter tub.
Here's where the fire started on the roof of the Superdome in the gutter tub.(NOLA Ready)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 8:37 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 9:29 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Superdome roof caught fire around 12:30 p.m. today as workers pressure washed it.

Smoke and flames could be seen for miles, alarming not just the people of New Orleans, but also the workers inside. The fire department says it appears there was some sort of malfunction with the pressure washer that started the fire. One worker was hurt and suffered minor burns to his face, arm and chest.

“The fire was in a very inaccessible place. So we needed to have enough firefighters to cover a large amount of area so it wouldn’t get out of control more than it already was,” said Michael Williams of the New Orleans Fire Dept.

Firefighters quickly discovered that the location of the fire was in an extremely difficult spot. They attacked the fire from the inside and the outside. We’re told several firefighters had to gear up and climb several flights of stairs to the roof of the dome. Several minutes later, the fire was under control.

The Fire Marshal will determine if the alarm system was working.

A spokesperson with the Fire Marshal’s Office says they are not required but prefer to inspect buildings like the Dome on an annual basis.

Because of COVID delays, the last time the Dome got a full inspection was August of 2019.

However, that doesn’t mean the Fire Marshal’s Office hasn’t been in there to inspect safety systems before major events and since the renovations, they’ve checked in seven times to take a look at portions of the project.

We asked Superdome management if the fire alarm went off and if not why? As well as what the threshold for a building-wide alarm would be.

A spokesperson said they were still gathering reports and information would likely not be made available Tuesday.

Superdome management says that the damage appears superficial and there appears to be no structural damage or impact to the integrity of the roof’s exterior skin.

Workers inside at the time were startled by the fire. They told Fox 8 they did not hear fire alarms go off. Instead, they said they heard people yelling to evacuate the building.

“When I saw the smoke and came outside it was very large. It looks like another cloud was forming up there,” said Tony Estrada, a worker.

The manager says that the fire will not impact future events, including the October 3 Saints game against the New York Giants.

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