OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Smoking materials that weren't properly disposed of sparked a massive apartment fire near 144th and West Maple streets Thursday, displacing 12 families and leaving them with almost no belongings.
Omaha Fire was dispatched to an apartment complex near 142nd and Maple streets early Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. (Ashly Richardson / WOWT)
According to firefighters, the flames were so damaging that the third floor collapsed into the first. No one was injured, but many things were lost.
Firefighters also managed to save one woman’s dream day.
Caitlyn Worden, a bride-to-be, said she and her fiance, Jordan Hollingsworth, were awakened by firefighters urging them to escape the flames. Her wedding dress was the last thing on her mind, but her soon-to-be husband was thinking differently.
“I went back and talked to a fireman, and they were like ‘Alright, we’ll go get that for you.' So, they went back in and took care of that for us,” Hollingsworth said.
OFD made sure everyone was safe, then headed in to save the couple’s memento.
"Why? This is about the public and helping them out. We were in a safe area, so there was no immediate danger to our people. So we were able to get in there and help some individuals out," said Joe Salcedo, assistant Fire Chief. "It's a big day for them. So, if we can help them out — it's no different than going in to save the animals."
The couple's wedding is only two-and-a-half months away, and the dress was one of the few things saved from the fire, making the memories it will hold all the more special.
“This is very precious and, I don’t know, I’m just thankful,” Worden said.