Car fire on UNL campus totals two, damages 33 vehicles

Posted By: Rachael Miner

This is what’s left of two cars in the Avery Parking Garage on UNL’s campus after a fire ignited in one vehicle and spread.

The blaze started just before 8 a.m. in the parking garage near 14th and Salt Creek while classes were just starting for many students.

James Hajek was walking back to his dorm room when he got the news, "I got a text from parking and transit service that my car was on fire. I was honestly hoping it wasn’t my car and they had gotten it wrong."

Hajek’s car was parked next to the one that caught fire. It spread to his vehicle leaving nothing but a burned out shell.

In all 33 cars were damaged by the blaze. 

Lincoln Fire and Rescue arrived at the parking garage within minutes, but having a fire three stories up created challenges for firefighters.

"It simply takes us longer to get water on the fire we have the vertical aspect going up multiple flights of stairs," said Battalion Chief Jeremy Gegg.

LFR also had to deal with several tires on both vehicles exploding due to the heat, luckily no firefighters were injured.

The fire was extinguished within twenty minutes, but the parking garage remained closed for several hours as fire investigators worked.

They say the fire was started by an electrical problem.

As for Hajek he says he’s just lucky he lives on campus and doesn’t have to drive to class, "I’m going to take it one step at a time. First is getting all the information in the car is going to be towed to a location where I can look at it later and I’ll work with my parents to handle the insurance."

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