Cigarette to blame for north Lincoln fire

By:  Ashley Harding
aharding@klkntv.com

Fire investigators say the afternoon blaze near N.27th and Old Dairy Road started on the ground floor of the complex.

At around noon, Lincoln firefighters were called to a fire at a condominium north of 27th and Cornhusker.  Lincoln Fire Investigator Rick Campos says a discarded cigarette on the ground floor caused the fire.  Campos says damage is estimated at $175,000.  Four units of the 8-plex was heavily damaged.

Tammy Adcock lives on the top floor and was home with her three kids.  She says she realized something was wrong when her 5–year old daughter came to her saying she had seen smoke on the balcony. 

“I said, “No, there can't be smoke.” You just, you know, it's just surreal, and she said, “No mommy, there is something. I don't know what it is but you have to come look,” said Adcock.

While some tenants were able to walk out, others had to force their way out.

“Just punched out the screen and jumped out. Then my roommate was right after me. We were trying to find the cat but we couldn't get him. It was just too thick in there so we had to just get out,” said Zach Francis.

It was just a few minutes into our interview with Zach Francis when his 22–pound feline buddy, Clyde was found safe and sound.

Fire officials tell us out of the eight units, four of them are unlivable and those tenants will have to stay somewhere else for the time being.

If the fire had been spotted any later, it could have been worse.

“The child was first who observed the fire and alerted the parent. That's what was really the most critical point here. Is that there was early detection,” said Battalion Chief Jeanne Pashalek.

The American Red Cross is assisting the families affected by the fire.  This is the third fire in less than a week caused by a cigarette.