Arson Takes Man's Home, Business

The owner of a small Omaha newspaper is literally picking up the pieces after a fire severely damaged his business. The owner of the Heartland News still plans to do what he can to keep the paper going.

No one was hurt when fire broke at 62nd and Ames around 2:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Investigators believe the fire was deliberately set. A window has black soot rising up above it on the wall. That's where, the owner says, somebody threw some sort of gas bomb or incendiary device through the window and that's what started the blaze.

“This caught most of the fire right here and then the smoke destroyed the rest," says MA Yah. "We had a writer at this desk, one over here. We had 'Twins Corner,' which are the two twins who wrote for the paper, the youngest journalists in the state of Nebraska. They were 12 when they started, they're 13 now.”

The Heartland News was designed to give homeless a source of income, buying papers for a quarter and selling them for a dollar. “I would like to get rebuilt. I would like to get it back running as soon as possible. I've had a lot of vendors and a lot of workers who really depended on this paper.”

While Yah looks for an affordable home for the business, he also needs a home of his own. “It could happen to anyone. Look at me, I'm homeless because I used to live upstairs. I was a president of a business and had roof over my head. Now today, I'm homeless.”

For now, the Red Cross is taking care of him. As far as the newspaper, Yah still has his laptop and still hopes to get this month's paper published.


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