Parts of a Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans collapsed Saturday morning, drawing a response from firefighters and other emergency workers, a witness said.
Construction workers had to run to safety as a portion of the hotel came tumbling down, according to WWL-TV.
The upper floors began to crumble on top of one another before the side of the building facing Basin Street fell, the station reported.
“This is an active scene,” NOLA Ready, New Orleans’s emergency preparedness campaign, alerted on Twitter. “Please avoid the area & listen to public safety officials.”
The account later said on Twitter that Gov. John Bel Edwards was on the scene.
WWL-TV also posted video of a crane crashing and said no injuries were reported.
A public information officer for the New Orleans Police Department could not immediately answer questions.
Sarah Fischer, an employee at Fischer’s Jewelry on Canal Street who saw the collapse, said that the area was completely blocked off, and that Fischer’s Jewelry employees were being forced to evacuate because of a crane that might fall.
“We saw, all of a sudden, just this thick cloud of white smoke and metal falling,” she said. “You couldn’t see in front of you and it lasted 30 seconds, maybe a minute.”
Ms. Fischer said there was metal all over the street. “You can see people stuck up there,” she said of the building, adding that firefighters were trying to rescue people.
It was not immediately clear how many people were in the structure at the time it collapsed or after it began to fall apart.
Ms. Fischer said the hotel had been under construction for at least a year, and added, “They were closer to finishing it up.”
A news release announcing Hard Rock’s coming New Orleans location, near the city’s historic French Quarter, said the hotel would have 350 rooms, residential spaces, two ballrooms and 12,000 square feet of event space.
The Hard Rock Hotel did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.