An explosion sparked grass fires just outside of Schramm State Park south of Gretna Saturday evening. No injuries were reported.
The explosion near 204th Street and Highway 31in Sarpy County completely leveled an abandoned cabin that shared a property line with the park. The blast sparked fires in a heavily-wooded area next to the Platte River, a wooded area on a steep hill that presented a problem to firefighters trying to get water to the hot spots.
The explosion sent flames all over the hill and there was plenty of fuel for the blaze as crews from Gretna, Springfield and Louisville responded and spent much of the time in the thicket, knocking down small fires before they could spread.
“This was tough,” said Gretna Fire Chief Rod Buethe. “It is a heavily-wooded area. We had a lot of concern about the cedar trees catching on fire. You can see there are a lot of trees so if it would start we would have a big job ahead of us."
When firefighters arrived, the old cabin had already been leveled, though the propane tank next to the cabin appeared to be intact. The concern was for another house across a small driveway.
“We had grass burning on the other side of the driveway, so we had people fighting fires on both sides of the driveway, but only one structure involved,” said Chief Buethe.
It could have been much worse, but two crews from Gretna were nearby and immediately jumped into action. “They were already out on a training exercise,” said Chief Buethe. “They were already halfway to the call when the call came in."
The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the explosion and fire. Neighbors said there was no power to the cabin and no one ever goes there. They did say they will see an occasional hiker from Schramm State Park cross over to private land, but otherwise there’s little activity in that area.
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