UPDATE: Candle to blame for 27th & Randolph fire - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

UPDATE: Candle to blame for 27th & Randolph fire

Posted: Updated: March 13, 2013 04:49 AM CDT

Posted By:  Kayla Bremer

A large fire Wednesday morning in Lincoln has left many homeless and heavy water damage to some local businesses.

Lincoln fire investigators say a candle left burning four hours is to blame for the fire.  Damage is estimated at $300,000.

The call came in around 10 o'clock and firefighters say there was thick smoke when they arrived.  All residents who were home at the time were able to get out on their own and no one was hurt.  

Residents stood across the street, staring in disbelief as they watched their homes go up in flames. Thick smoke poured out of the second floor windows on all sides of the two story building at 27th and Randolph.

Andrew Stewart and his brother were working on a house next door when they saw a woman frantically running for safety.

"She came running out, she had smoke all on her face, place just started going up in flames...about 5 or 6 fire engines just came out of nowhere," Stewart said.

Dozens of firefighters battled the 2 alarm fire for hours.  Battalion Chief Derald Murrell says the fire was mostly contained to the upstairs apartments, but the water used to extinguish the fire seeped into the stores below.

Murrell says this fire was difficult to get under control because the flames were deep–seated, trapped between the three ceilings in the second floor apartments.

"What's happening is the fire is swirling around above the firefighters and what they're having to do is physically pull the ceiling down to get to the fire," Murrell said.

No one was injured in the fire, but one woman did lose her cat and two birds. Friends of the victims consoled them at a nearby store as they waited to find out the final fate of their home.

"I think it's tragic.  I mean anybody who's things or belongings with sentimental value...things are gone, can't replace them.  It's a tragic thing to happened to anybody and these people since I know them, you know just got to try to help them get through with whatever they lost and go from there," Stewart said.

Firefighters will remain at the scene through the evening.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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