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2 people killed, 1 trapped inside Hard Rock Hotel that partially collapsed

Posted at 2:14 PM, Oct 12, 2019

Two people have died and a third remains trapped after an under-construction Hard Rock Hotel partially collapsed Saturday in New Orleans.

New Orleans Fire Chief Timothy McConnell said rescue teams are unable to locate the trapped individual inside the building.

"We have first responders going into a very dangerous building right now, trying to do their job," a spokesperson for New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said at a press conference Saturday. "Please keep them in your thoughts."

The collapse sent 18 people to local hospitals, according to EMS Director Emily Nichols. The victims transported for treatment were now "all stable."

Police have not yet identified the people who died at the scene but said that at least one of them was someone who worked in the building.

The collapse happened around 9:12 a.m. local time at Canal and North Rampart Streets, McConnell said.

McConnell urged the public to avoid the area and said another collapse was "absolutely" possible because of how unstable the building is.

He called the situation "very dangerous" since the crane, which weighs tons and is 270 feet tall, was not supported. Authorities are working on stabilizing the building, but it will take a while, he noted.

Dramatic video of the incident showed parts of the building crashing into the street as debris billowed into the air.

It's not clear what caused the collapse, which affected the sixth to eighth floors.

Surrounding buildings, including condominiums, were being evacuated. Nearby streets were closed to vehicles, according to NOLA Ready, the city's emergency preparedness center.

Hard Rock International said in a statement the company had "no involvement in the construction of the project" but extended its "deepest sympathies to victims of this tragic accident and to their loved ones and friends."

The general contractor hired for the project, Citadel Builders, did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

Hard Rock was planning a 350-room hotel within New Orleans' Theater District.

ABC News' Devin Vilacis and Matt Foster contributed to this report.