Update: Firefighters battle morning blaze

By:  Melina Matthes
mmatthes@klkntv.com

It was the city's first 3-alarm fire of the year.  Dozens of firefighters showed up within minutes.

They say when they arrived they saw only smoke, but the fire quickly spread throughout all three floors of the house.

“We could've died.  This is life changing,” said one tenant.

Lateshia French was cooking breakfast for her family and working on laundry when all of a sudden the smoke detectors went off.  She ran to the basement to find the laundry room up in flames and yelled for her son.

“She was just like get out of the house.  Call 911.  So, I got the kids out, she went upstairs and knocked on our neighbors door and I called the cops,” said Lateshia's son Marlon Young.

Within minutes, over 40 firefighters, 7 engines and 2 trucks rushed to the scene to find flames shooting from the roof.  Investigators say a stack of clothes had fallen behind the dryer in the basement, covered the vent, and ignited.  Because of the way the house was built the fire spread fast throughout all three floors of the house.

“These older homes or any house fire, it's difficult to find a fire in but when you add the factor of the older construction, multiple stories, and the high winds…it takes a toll on us,” said Battalion Chief Tim Linke.

A toll for the family as well, they say they don't have any insurance and they just moved to Lincoln from New Jersey.

“I just got on my feet, I just started over and put everything in the trash and moved here.  I mean we just got everything…I just got a tv and stuff for my son and some clothes and stuff.  We came with just our bags so now we gotta start all over again.  It's just hard.”

No one was injured in the fire and both families are working with the Red Cross to find a place to stay.  Investigators say the damage is around $100,000.