Apartment fire has tenants evacuate twice - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Apartment fire has tenants evacuate twice

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By: Lauren Fabrizi

An apartment fire near S. 10th and South Streets Saturday night forced people to evacuate not one, but two times, all within a matter of minutes.

"We were coming back downstairs, it started catching fire, so they told us to get out," tenant Roberto Amaya said.

Fire officials said a maintenance man was repairing a pipe in the laundry room in the basement when insulation in the wall caught on fire from his blow torch.

"It's very common to have that situation occur because you're using a blow torch and you're not real careful," Battalion Chief Derald Murrell of Lincoln Fire and Rescue said.

Fire crews thought the fire had been contained, but officials said it then traveled up a wall into the attic.

Moments before, the occupants had been given the okay to head back inside, but were told to evacuate again. This time, the scene was much worse.

"Seeing them throw things down from your apartment," Amaya said. "It's disappointing, but there's nothing we can do about it."

Fire crews cut holes in the roof to knock down the flames in the attic.

A StarTran bus was sent to the scene so all who evacuated could keep warm. The Red Cross was also on hand.

Fire officials said if there was a positive in this, it's that everyone made it out okay.

"There were no injuries," Murrell said. "That was the best thing."

Fire officials have estimated $100,000 in total damage. They said the Red Cross is helping tenants find places to stay until they are allowed back in their apartments.


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