Residents evacuated as firefighters battle three alarming chemical fires near downtown Omaha


Residents just southwest of downtown Omaha were evacuated as a fire raged at a chemical company near 20th and Downtown Monday night. Thick black smoke billowed from the Nox Crete facility, and Omaha firefighters said they would battle the blaze overnight. An alert just before 9:00 p.m. urged the evacuation of those between the 13th and 20th, Leavenworth to Martha. People living nearby were initially encouraged to shelter in place. Those unable to evacuate were asked to stay indoors with the windows closed. The Columbus Community Center was opened at 1523 South 24th for evacuees who needed a place to stay. The 13th Street Little Bohemia area has been closed. As of 11:30 p.m. Monday, no injuries had been reported in the three-alarm fire. The first call for help came at 6:53 p.m. according to Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick said firefighters initially struggled to get to the fire, then realized it was bigger than they thought. Fire crews retreated knowing there were chemicals and propane cylinders at the site Explosions could be seen between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. as part of the building collapsed and ruptured propane containers. OFD estimated that about 50 firefighters were on sight with units dumping water at the site. At 11:30 p.m., firefighters were still battling the flames but had reduced the response to two alarms. and sealing compounds and water repellents according to its website. Pottawattamie County Emergency Management said the smoke posed no toxicity risk to residents of Council Bluffs. The OFD had said the protective measures only extended east to 13th Street in Omaha. As of 10:30 p.m., the OPPD reported that 2,476 customers were without power in neighborhoods near the scene of the fire at 20th and Central. By 11:30 p.m., that number had fallen below 300.

Residents just southwest of downtown Omaha were evacuated as a fire raged at a chemical company near 20th and Downtown on Monday night.

Thick black smoke billowed from the Nox Crete facility and Omaha firefighters said they would battle the blaze overnight.

An alert just before 9:00 p.m. called for the evacuation of those between the 13th and 20th, Leavenworth to Martha. People living nearby were initially encouraged to shelter in place. Those unable to evacuate were asked to stay indoors with the windows closed.

The Columbus Community Center was opened at 1523 South 24th for evacuees who needed a place to stay.

The 13th Street Little Bohemia neighborhood has closed.

As of 11:30 p.m. Monday, no injuries had been reported in the three-alarm fire.

The first call for help came at 6:53 p.m. according to Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick said firefighters initially struggled to get to the fire, then realized it was bigger than they thought. Firefighters retreated knowing there were chemicals and propane cylinders at the scene.

Explosions could be observed between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. when part of the building collapsed and ruptured the propane containers.

The OFD estimated that around 50 firefighters were in sight with air units dumping water on the site.

At 11:30 p.m., firefighters were still battling the flames but had reduced the response to two alarms.

Nox Crete manufactures a variety of products including form coatings and deactivators, liquid floor hardeners, joint fillers, curing and sealing compounds and water repellents according to its website.

Pottawattamie County Emergency Management said the smoke posed no toxicity risk to residents of Council Bluffs. The OFD had said the protective measures only extended east to 13th Street in Omaha.

As of 10:30 p.m., the OPPD reported that 2,476 customers were without power in neighborhoods near the scene of the fire at the 20th & Center. By 11:30 p.m., that number had fallen below 300.


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