Omaha police are awaiting autopsy results on the badly burned body found in a garage Thursday to determine how to proceed with the investigation.
A passerby first reported smoke coming from the direction of a vacant house under renovation on 28th Street between Woolworth and Hickory shortly before 2 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they found a detached garage on fire and the body inside.
“The victim was taken to the Douglas County coroner where they are doing an autopsy today,” said OPD’s James Shade. “The results of that autopsy are still pending. We don't have any of those results back yet. As soon as we get the results then we'll know if we're gonna proceed with the investigation or whether it was an accident or intentional arson.”
The fire has neighbors concerned because there is a history of garage fires in the area. May 23rd, a suspicious fire destroyed a Field Club garage and the car inside at 36th and Woolworth. The house next door was also damaged.
Three months later and eight blocks away, another garage went up in flames under suspicious circumstances. When the smoke cleared a body was discovered. While police wait for the autopsy results, residents continue to worry.
Janet Thomas has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years. She's working to improve her home and thoughts of a possible arsonist running loose really concerns her. “I think it's important. The neighborhoods can have curb appeal so people can stop vandalizing. I've had my car vandalized many times so I know what that's like, but I'm just frightened they're going to keep moving from house to house."
Investigators can't say whether the two garage fires are related, but the fires in this part of town have residents on the lookout.