Omaha Police have identified two men injured in a Monday afternoon house fire as 30-year-old Jermaine Charles and 31-year-old Matthew Phillips. The fire opened the door on an alleged marijuana grow operation.
The fire broke out around 2:15 at 4811 S. 47th St.
Witnesses have told investigators that they heard an explosion, saw the fire and called 911.
Fire officials later determined the fire was a result of a malfunctioning water heater.
Jon Kennedy said he heard the commotion and ran to get his grandfather.
“It was just like a ginormous boom. I saw it, ran and got him.”
Witness Mike Marvin said, “I just come out the house and saw smoke up the street. Heard everybody yelling up here so I ran up here kicked the door in, broke out a couple of windows. They were looking for their cats. They couldn’t find them. Got too smoky. It was too smoky.”
Police said Monday night that the victims' injuries are not life-threatening but a number of pets were reportedly lost.
The marijuana plants were found in the basement. Police say charges are pending in that part of the investigation.
Several pets were lost in the fire.