St. Tammany Fire District #1 responded to the report of a commercial structure fire at the Act X Condominiums, located at 4504 Pontchartrain Dr. in Slidell. Firefighters arrived on the scene in just over five minutes to find the 16,000 square foot, two story building, with heavy flames and thick smoke coming from a couple of units, facing the front of the 28 unit complex . They were able to bring the situation under control and extinguish the fire within one and a half hours of arriving on the scene.
Multiple 911 calls were received from the tenants and a passerby. Firefighters were assisted by Deputies from the St.Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and State Fire Marshal’s Office, Slidell Police Department Officers, and Acadian Ambulance in rescuing 12 tenants that were trapped on their balconies from the fire. Some of the tenants were forced to jump into the arms of rescuers below to avoid the fire, while others escaped down ladders set up by the firefighters. Fire Chief Chris Kaufmann said “We were very fortunate that no one lost their life. Our number one priority was to rescue the trapped occupants. I am especially grateful to our firefighters for their hard work and for the help that we received from our law enforcement agencies and Acadian Ambulance”.
Investigators believe the fire started in one of the downstairs condo units. Tenants reported hearing an explosion just prior to seeing the fire. There was heavy fire damage to approximately 60 percent of the building and heavy water damage to the remainder of the structure. The American Red Cross was notified to provide assistance to all of the displaced families. St. Tammany Fire Districts #3, #4, #8, and #11 were called in for mutual aid to man the fire stations, while Fire District #1 personnel were working the fire. One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a minor injury. The fire is under investigation at this time. No civilian injuries were reported.
1st alarm: 00:59:17
2nd alarm: 01:18:00
On Scene: 01:04:32
Under Control: 02:30:38
Cause: Under Investigation