Over 50 displaced after fire devastated Kensington Apartments

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT)-- Nearly 50 families are being forced to find a new place to stay after apartment fire near the Old Mill area Thursday night.

A two-alarm fire broke out at Kensington Woods Apartments in the Old Mill area in Omaha on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 17, 2019. (Omaha Fire Department)

One second these families are going about their day, the next they’re left with nothing.

Carlos Middlebrooks says it was chaos, as dozens of families ran outside when they saw their apartment building in the Kensington Woods Complex going up in flames.

“When I was driving up, there were some people who knew some people who lived here who were concerned about some animals so I kinda led them to the back way to get there,” said Middlebrooks.

Neighbors say they saw the black smoke starting at 4 p.m.

Fire crews say the damage affected 24 units, forcing dozens of families to find another place to stay, even children.

“I don’t have my wallet and my identity, they won’t let me get my identity stuff like I have to figure out how to get my birth certificate, my marriage license, my driver’s license, I don’t know what else to say,” said Jacob Hansen who was displaced by the fire.

Hansen was at home with his wife and daughter when the fire broke out.

“She wants her toys, she wants her stuff, and so does anybody else, and she doesn’t understand, she’s only 9,” said Hansen.

Apartment security is blocking off the entrance to the complex, in fear that the building is still dangerous.

William Botos says the clothes he’s wearing and what his two kids are wearing is all they have.

“My unit is totaled so everything in my unit is gone,” said Botos.

Some things can’t be replaced.

“My mom died in March and she’s in an urn like she’s cremated in an urn, she’s in there and I can’t go get her, that’s something I can’t replace,” said Hansen.

Officials say the fire was caused by a cigarette that wasn’t properly put out.