Firefighters Torch Mansion For Training

By: Lauren Squires Email
By: Lauren Squires Email

Firefighters burned down a decaying mansion near Gretna for training Sunday afternoon.

The 14,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1997 by businessman and former NFL player Rod Kush. The massive home was once worth roughly $2.5 million. Kush sold it for $1.6 million in 2008. That buyer donated the home to Catholic Charities, but the group failed to open a planned youth treatment center.

The mansion and the surrounding 35 acres, which once held a three-hole golf course, was sold two years ago to an Elkhorn developer for $612,000. The developer needs to clear the mold-covered mansion for a project on the land, so firefighters got a special training experience.

"It's just been burning and collapsing and just lots and lots of fire." Nine-year-old Alex Goff watched his dad and other members of the Gretna Fire Department. “They started lighting it with matches and did some training things.

“It's a little scary, but it's also not scary because you know he's wearing all the fire protective gear.” Alex's mom Teresa brought her boys. “There's a flame coming up from behind there, maybe that one wall will go down."

Room by room, crews practiced and trained. “It was like a big echo, almost like thunder, kinda sounded like it just rolled and rolled and rolled.” Five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a gym, sauna and basketball court up in smoke. “It sounded like fireworks going off.”

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