Contractor blames Omaha utility in downtown natural gas fire

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

OMAHA, Neb. (AP)

The Minnesota excavation company that city authorities blame for causing a downtown Omaha fire says the Metropolitan Utilities District should be held responsible for the natural gas explosion.

The Omaha World-Herald reports North Central Service of Bemidji, Minnesota, blames the utility in its response to a lawsuit over the Jan. 9 fire in the Old Market area.

City officials and safety regulators have said North Central’s workers struck a natural gas line in front of M’s Pub before the fire.        

Gas leaked into the basement of the building and exploded. An M’s Pub employee was taken to a hospital with cuts and a firefighter was treated after slipping on ice.

MUD says North Central failed to follow routine procedures to locate underground gas lines before beginning to drill.