‘I have nothing’ | Neighbors left homeless after deadly Central City fire


“We have no place to stay right now. We have no clothes. We have lost everything.”

NEW ORLEANS — Shanita Williams looked in disbelief at what used to be her home, a duplex on South Johnson Street in New Orleans’ Central City.

“This is a shock to me,” Williams said.

The home she rented with Eddie Johnson was destroyed Wednesday when their neighbor’s house, just feet away, caught on fire, spreading to theirs.

“Fire was shooting everywhere,” Johnson said.

The woman who lived in the home where the fire started, identified by family members as 46-year-old Chevell Powell, died after being taken to the hospital. Williams says the home was in very poor condition and that her neighbor lived there with child who has special needs. Authorities say that child escaped the fire.

“I use to always talk to her and ask her could you try to get out of there and get some help or some assistance where you can find a better place to live,” said Williams.

According to a city spokesman, there was water service at the home, but the city believes there was no electric or gas.

“I don’t like to see anyone living like that. I was so worried about them all the time,” Williams said.

Williams says this isn’t the first time she’s had to deal with flames. She says her neighbor’s home caught on fire last year, also burning hers in the process. With immense loss this time Williams and Johnson are now homeless.

“I have nothing. I lost everything,” Johnson said.

“We have no place to stay right now. We have no clothes,” said Williams. “We have lost everything.”

It took 55 firefighters just more than an hour to get the flames under control, but far less time for lives to be changed.

RELATED: Woman dies, 3 homes destroyed in Central City fire

RELATED: Elderly woman found dead by paramedics after ‘intense’ Holy Cross house fire: NOFD

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