Abandoned funeral home leaves stain in South Omaha neighborhood

Not once, not twice, but six times this abandoned funeral home has caught on fire in just a little over a year.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 10:17 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Not once, not twice, but six times this abandoned funeral home has caught on fire in just a little over a year.

“It’s a joke, it’s a plane joke here. It’s a big eyesore,” said Scottie.

This building was once home to Good Shepherd Funeral Home on 24th street. The funeral home has since built a new facility on 90th street.

The first fire here was not foul play, but they have experienced arson cases in the other five.

“So the last couple fires have been some vagrants in there, yes. Some small fires we were able to put out easily,” said Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick.

All the damage is starting to add up. The smoke damage, graffiti, and broken windows are hard to ignore for South Omaha residents.

“Right now you can see through the whole roof and everything inside. People go camping out in there. The upper and lower doors are still open. Then they boarded it up and then it’s back open again,” said Scottie.

Scottie says the building is a big stain on the neighborhood.

“You look down there, you got a nice big beautiful church there, you got beautiful buildings here but you see this one. Nah! That’s like one eye bandit,” said Scottie.

Audrey Hughes’s parent’s house is right next to the former funeral home. She’s here to keep the house safe.

“My parents are on vacation so I’ve kind of had to watch their house because it’s so close to the burnt down funeral home,” said Hughes.

Hughes is worried for both the people who come to the building and for her parents.

“It’s 10 feet from my parent’s back door and they can see everything. They can see all the people going in and out and everything. They’ve called the cops multiple times on people,” said Hughes.

The fire department and Omaha police are working together to stop people from messing with the building.

“We’ve filled out a form so everybody on the job knows that’s been an issue. We’ve had a few fires here. The police are doing some extra rounds making sure if they see anyone. People have been arrested for trespassing through there,” said Fitzpatrick.

Some think that will make a small impact

Just a little bit, just a little and that’s it,” said Scottie.

And some think that will help bend the curve on vandalism and more.

“If they see cops, they should have the instinct just to leave what they’re doing and go away,” said Hughes.

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