Rex Mansion catches fire
February 20, 2019
The historic Montgomery-Grace mansion on St. Charles went up in flames around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the New Orleans Fire Department.
A release from the department said the initial call came at 7:44 a.m. after being alerted to visible flames coming from the building. The release said that after escorting an elderly woman from the building and making sure that it had been completely evacuated, they started fighting the fire that was engulfing the first floor and the basement. 25 New Orleans Fire Department units were on the scene, fighting a fire that eventually engulfed the roof.
“I’m amazed. It’s like the water isn’t doing anything,” said Beverly Rainbolt, who lives down the street from the mansion and had been watching the fire department fight the flames for over an hour.
According to New Orleans EMS, no injuries had been reported during the fire. This came as a relief to Emilie Montgomery, whose aunt, uncle and 92-year old grandmother lived in the house. According to Montgomery, even their dog was able to make it out of the flames unscathed.
“Everybody’s okay, which is the best thing,” she said. “But they lost everything, and that’s devastating. With the history behind it, it’s a sad day.”
The mansion is known for being one of the stops for the Krewe of Rex, where, traditionally, the king stops to toast the house during the parade. According to Montgomery, this tradition has been happening since her great-great uncle started it.
“It’s been in Mardi Gras since I can remember,” she said. “And unfortunately it had to happen before Mardi Gras. It’s a sad day for everybody.”
The fire department said that the cause of the fire won’t be known until the investigation is complete.