Cause of downtown Hastings fire determined

Fire in downtown Hastings cause determined
Berts Pharmacy
Courtesy: Hastings Fire and Rescue

HASTINGS, Neb (KLKN)—Hastings Fire and Rescue has determined cause of a fire in downtown Hastings that destroyed Bert’s Pharmacy, the Hastings Visitor Center and damaged surrounding structures.

After a thorough review of the scene, including early photos and witness statements, it was determined that the fire was accidental related to the electrical wiring in a neon sign at Bert’s Pharmacy.

The pharmacy and the Hastings Visitor Center’s preliminary damage report came back with an estimated cost of over $1 million. Surrounding smoke-damaged buildings damages are estimated to be thousands of dollars more.

Parking in the north alley and the parking area east of the building remain closed.

Olsson and Associates conducted a structural assessment of the building. HFR’s fire marshal and the city building official continue to monitor the building for structural stability, including movements or changes.

Hastings Fire and Rescue responded to the fire at 11:26 p.m. on March 13th. They arrived to find smoke and flames coming from the wall and awning of Bert’s Pharmacy.

Firefighters from Hastings Rural, Juniata and Glenvil assisted in putting the fire out.

Murphy credited smoke alarms and a neighboring tenant for alerting authorities to the fire.

“This incident is a perfect example of smoke alarms saving lives, and it helped save the downtown area,” Murphy said.

Nebraska Revised Statute 81-5,144 requires owners of rental properties to supply and install smoke alarms, and tenants are responsible for replacing batteries and performing monthly testing.

Categories: Nebraska News, News