In 2003, an overnight fire in Omaha gutted the old Butternut Coffee Factory that was being converted into high-end condominiums. The condos were only weeks away from occupancy and no one died. The fire went up fast – as it turned out, the contractors doing the work had smelled something burning off and on for a week before. Whatever was smouldering finally resulted in the total destruction of this building.
The fire chief stated later that had they been called when the burning odor was first noticed, they could have investigated and probably stopped the subsequent blaze. Within a few short months, another building in downtown Omaha was in fact saved from fire because the fire department ws promptly called when construction workers smelled something burning.
I drove past this building to and from work each day. I totally missed the fire trucks that day – the roads were somewhat icy and this stretch goes over a bridge. I decided to go a few blocks out of the way to avoid the bridge. As I waited at the light to turn left and go to work, I happened to look right and could not believe what I saw here.
Notice all the ice? It was a long and miserable several days for the fire department before the fire was finally out.
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