Apartment Fire Linked to Cigarettes on a Balcony

By: Brittany Gunter Email
By: Brittany Gunter Email
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Firefighters responded to yet another fire call at Hillsborough Pointe around 9:30 Monday night but that one turned out to be a minor problem with a dryer.

A two-alarm fire at the Hillsborough Pointe Apartments last week is believed to have been started by a bucket of cigarettes on a third floor apartment balcony. That word came from the apartment manager on Monday.

The fire broke out Friday afternoon at the complex near 144th and Sprague. The fire affected around a dozen units and one person was hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

It was the third fire at the complex in 13 months. After the second fire the complex installed sprinklers on all patios and balconies. They also made one building smoke free, but those grandfathered in didn't have to follow that policy.

The manager says the sprinklers helped with the third fire, but because of the wind, it still spread to the attic.

Now the city is considering new codes to improve safety. Omaha’s Superintendent of Permits, Jay Davis, said the idea is to “create a fire block between the actual building and the attic at the balcony line to make sure that nothing can get past that balcony line into the structure itself."

New apartments are required to have that fire block but the older ones don't have to. That’s what they want to change.

The complex now says they will go completely smoke-free starting Tuesday. They are still working on ways to enforce that.

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