State Rep. Helena Moreno, a New Orleans Democrat who, like many other city officials, is trying to get a handle on the explosive growth of short-term rentals through web sites such as Airbnb, introduced a common-sense measure aimed at keeping all those visitors safe. House Bill 952 would have required that hosts provide fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide monitors and a map of the exits; ensure that exits are unobstructed; and pay $25 for a five-year certification with the state fire marshal. The bill would have given the office the right to inspect properties to check compliance.Can't have that. Can't have the big bad fire marshal coming by to put some smoke detectors up in your short term rentals. That would probably ruin the authenticity of the experience for the guests.
That was all too much for Airbnb. The company’s lobbyist Jim Nickel raised alarms over the “largest expansion of fire marshal’s power in history.” Never mind that Nickel, a former chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, isn’t your typical small-government true believer.
Two men trapped by an early morning fire inside a Central City apartment frantically screamed for help as Sarah Thomas tried to hammer through a back window to free them.Part of the the thrill of "Belonging Anywhere," right?
Burglar bars blocked her blows, so it fell to firefighters to charge into the building and save the men.
No serious injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, but for the New Orleans Fire Department, it capped off an eventful Thursday morning in which firefighters saved three people from two fires.
Louis Carrier, a Fire Department spokesman, said the Central City fire started shortly before 4:30 a.m. at 1717 Jackson Ave.
Thomas said she was asleep in her back unit of the converted duplex when she heard her neighbor in the front unit screaming, “Help!”
Thomas woke up, realized there was a fire and called 911.
The fire, which started on the building’s porch, was blocking her neighbor’s exit through the front. Thomas said her neighbor and a second man, who was staying in the property as an Airbnb guest, rushed to the back of the house.