2-Alarm Apartment Fire Destroys Homes, Misplaces Families

Omaha officials say smoking materials caused $1 million fire

The+Park+West+fire%2C+which+occurred+near+108th+and+Fort+Streets%2C+destroyed+24+units+and+caused+over+%241+million+worth+of+damage.
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2-Alarm Apartment Fire Destroys Homes, Misplaces Families

The Park West fire, which occurred near 108th and Fort Streets, destroyed 24 units and caused over $1 million worth of damage.

The Park West fire, which occurred near 108th and Fort Streets, destroyed 24 units and caused over $1 million worth of damage.

Photo by Chase Moffitt/WOWT

The Park West fire, which occurred near 108th and Fort Streets, destroyed 24 units and caused over $1 million worth of damage.

Photo by Chase Moffitt/WOWT

Photo by Chase Moffitt/WOWT

The Park West fire, which occurred near 108th and Fort Streets, destroyed 24 units and caused over $1 million worth of damage.

Natalie Pearson, Entertainment Editor

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On October 31, Omaha firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze at the Park West apartment complex near 108th and Fort streets. Initially fire crews had a difficult time putting out the fire because of its location. They did ultimately get the fire under control by 10pm that night.

By that time, the second and third floors had collapsed and there was over $1 million in damages, so the building was deemed a total loss. This meant that the cost to rebuild exceeded the actual cash value of the building.

Everyone in the building was safely evacuated.

On the morning of Thursday, November 1, fire officials determined the cause of the fire to be improperly discarded smoking materials.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army assisted residents by sheltering them in hotels, giving them food and clothes. Park West apartment managers also helped fire victims find new homes.

“It makes me angry that so many people are without homes because one person wasn’t careful,” Fire victim Brittney Franklin said according to KETV. “These are full families, with little ones that have now lost everything.”

Franklin, whose home was destroyed by the blaze, plans to move into another Park West apartment, along with her fiancé.

Bellevue tried banning smoking in apartment complexes after a fire in 2016 caused by careless smoking, but their attempt failed. Some are saying Omaha should consider implementing this rule after Park West’s fire.

This is the most recent and also the most disastrous fire to occur as of late. Statistics show house fires peak during the holiday season, although it is in reference to Thanksgiving and Christmas rather than Halloween. Heat sources too close to the Christmas tree and candles are the top two causes of holiday fires, according to this site from the U.S. Fire Administration.

As the Christmas season approaches, please be cautious and keep your tree away from heat sources and use non-flammable decorations for your own safety.

Natalie Pearson

Natalie became a member of the Flightline in August of 2017. She is a junior this year, involved in band. Outside of school, she enjoys watching movies and playing video games. You can email her at [email protected]