Omaha firefighters talk about plant collapse - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Omaha firefighters talk about plant collapse

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By: Lauren Fabrizi

It's been four days since a plant collapse in Omaha took the life of two people and injured many more. Now, the city's first responders are talking about their experiences from that tragic day.

Within minutes of arriving on scene at the International Nutrition plant in Omaha Monday, the city's fire and rescue crews knew it was going to be deadly.

"Suddenly you realize that now we're in a real situation, this is the real deal," Cpt. Dave Kirchofer of Omaha Fire and Rescue said. "And you could tell that the building was falling over."

Thick flames coming from a pile of debris, people with second and third degree burns and those needing immediate medical assistance - that's what the firefighters recalled seeing as soon as they got there.

And once inside, they immediately found two dead bodies on the second floor.

They said they knew they had to act fast to retrieve those who were still alive.

"Right before the ladder extended to where they were I yelled, 'Don't touch the ladder until it stops,'" one firefighter remembered. "But they both jumped on the ladder, so that's how scared they were. They didn't wait for it to stop."

First responders said there was nothing but heavy smoke and complete darkness. But they knew getting the victims out was their one and only task, no matter how dangerous.

"This is where that oath we took when we took the job kicks in," Kirchofer said. "This is where we're quite literally doing what we're trained to do."

The crews said their hearts go out to all the families that have been affected by the tragedy.


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