Residents evacuated as firefighters battle three alarm fires near downtown Omaha

Residents just southwest of downtown Omaha were evacuated when a fire raged Monday night from a chemical company near 20th and Center. Thick, black smoke billowed from the Nox Crete facility, and Omaha firefighters estimated it would take hours to bring the fire under control. before 9 p.m., Martha urged the evacuation of those between 13 and 20, Leavenworth. Local residents were initially encouraged to take shelter in place. Those unable to evacuate were urged to stay indoors with the windows closed. The Columbus Community Center opened on 1523 South 24th for evacuees in need of shelter. The 13th Street Little Bohemia neighborhood is closed. There were no injuries in the three-alarm fire at 10 p.m. Monday. Battalion chief Scott Fitzpatrick said the first call for help came at 6:53 p.m. Fitzpatrick said firefighters struggled to gain access to the fire at first and then realized it was bigger than they thought. The fire brigade withdrew knowing that chemicals and propane bottles were at the scene. Explosions were seen between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. when part of the building collapsed and the propane containers ruptured. OFD estimated there were about 50 firefighters with aerial units pouring water at the site. Nox Crete manufactures a variety of products, including mold coating and deactivator, liquid floor hardeners, joint fillers, curing and sealants, and water repellents, according to its website. Pottawattamie County Emergency Management advised that the smoke posed no toxicity risks to Council Bluffs residents. OFD had advised that protective measures extend only east to 13th Street in Omaha. At 10:30 p.m., OPPD reported that 2,476 customers were without electricity in the neighborhoods near the fire scene at 20th & Center. By 11:30 p.m., that number had fallen below 300.

Residents just southwest of downtown Omaha were evacuated when a fire raged Monday night from a chemical company near 20th and Center.

Thick, black smoke billowed from the Nox Crete facility, and the Omaha Fire Department estimated it would take hours to bring the fire under control.

A warning just before 9 p.m. urged the evacuation of people between 13 and 20, Leavenworth, to Martha. Local residents were initially encouraged to take shelter in place. Those unable to evacuate were asked to stay indoors with the windows closed.

The Columbus Community Center opened on 1523 South 24th for evacuees in need of shelter.

The 13th Street Little Bohemia neighborhood is closed.

There were no injuries in the three-alarm fire at 10 p.m. Monday.

Battalion chief Scott Fitzpatrick said the first call for help came at 6:53 p.m.

Fitzpatrick said firefighters struggled to gain access to the fire at first, but realized it was bigger than they thought. The fire brigade withdrew knowing that chemicals and propane bottles were at the scene.

Explosions were seen between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. as part of the building collapsed and the propane containers ruptured.

OFD estimated that about 50 firefighters were on the scene with air units pouring water onto the site.

Nox Crete manufactures a variety of products including mold coating and deactivator, liquid floor hardeners, joint fillers, curing and sealing agents and water repellents according to its website.

Pottawattamie County Emergency Management advised that the smoke posed no toxicity risks to residents in Council Bluffs. OFD had advised that the protective measures extend only east to 13th Street in Omaha.

At 10:30 p.m., OPPD reported that 2,476 customers were without electricity in the neighborhoods near the fire scene at 20th & Center. By 11:30 p.m., that number had fallen below 300.

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