Neighbors Want Action On Vacant Building That's Caught Fire Four Times

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Neighbors are frustrated and want the city to do something after a vacant Omaha apartment building catches fire for the fourth time this year.

The broken windows, crumbling siding and a charred chimney only add to the eyesore at North 45th Street and Lafayette Avenue.

"We caught it on fire twice, so we've personally called twice. This is the fourth time." Terresa Marquiss lives next door and has had a front row seat to all the fires. "They knocked on the door at 2:30 and said we may have to evacuate your house"

The official report from fire investigators confirms squatters or transients were likely in the building at the time of the latest fire at 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Nobody was hurt. "Homeless in there all the time, drug deals all the time, I can't tell you how many times I've called police on the property."

The exact cause is still under investigation. The fire department confirms the building's been listed as vacant for all four of the fires, which means transients are to blame.

According to law, property owner Chad Adams with A & P Holdings LLC is responsible for keeping the building secure. He tells WOWT 6 News he's tried to board the place up, but just can't keep people from breaking in.

Terresa says that's the scariest part for her and her 10-month-old child. "There's not even any doors on the back of the building to keep people out and the front door is so broken that they can't lock it because its been kicked in two or three times."

She says the only way to keep people out is to tear it down before another fire sparks again. "Sometimes those people are really nice. Not everyone is riff raff. Sometimes they just need to get warm, lay your head and I get that, but when you come here, set it on fire, throw trash, breaking stuff, windows, your breaking into people's cars, that's the kind of thing that's just not okay."

OFD Chief Tim McCaw says they've decided to work with the city planning department to speed up the demolition process. The building is a total loss, valued at $117,000. The owner said he does have insurance.