Crews respond to massive fire at vacant Omaha apartment complex

A large fire at a vacant senior living facility is contained
Published: Apr. 24, 2022 at 6:43 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 24, 2022 at 8:48 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Crews battled a large fire at an unfinished apartment complex Sunday morning.

At 1:21 a.m. Sunday, crews were called to a fire at a vacant apartment building near 144th and Pacific Street.

The fire dramatically grew throughout the night, eventually becoming a four-alarm fire with crews battling the flames for at least seven hours. At least 88 firefighters were on the scene at the height of the response.

Around 8 a.m. Omaha Fire announced additional crews had arrived at the scene to relieve firefighters who had been battling the blaze all morning.

Omaha Fire says the blaze was under control by 11:30 a.m., but crews continued to look for hot spots throughout the day.

The building is part of the Heartwood Preserve Development. The 500-acre project claims to be the largest urban development project in the country. The building impacted by the fire is a senior living apartment facility called Ovation that was set to open this Spring in the Heartwood Preserve.

Stephanie Grade, general manager with Ovation, says the company is grateful for the firefighters’ quick response.

“We are grateful to the first responders who have worked to limit the damage to the building that is Ovation East,” Grade said. “Fortunately, none of our residents had moved in yet, and we are extremely thankful for that. We will be assessing the situation as soon as it is safe for us to tour the building and will communicate our plan for going forward as quickly as possible.”

According to Omaha Fire Department Fire Prevention Division Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick, the fire was originally called in by a passerby. The fire was seen on the roof and spread to the roof membrane, which caused it to spread quickly throughout the building.

Two firefighters were mildly injured on the scene. One suffered from heat exhaustion, and another from a cut from a piece of glass.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

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