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UPDATE: Evacuation recommendation lifted after massive fire at facility south of Downtown Omaha

Some firefighters remain on scene Tuesday morning
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Downtown Fire
Posted at 8:28 PM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 16:51:51-04

UPDATE 11:45 p.m.

Nebraska Regional Poison Center say it does not yet know exactly what chemicals were involved in the Nox Crete plant fire on Sunday night:
"Some of the chemicals may contain hydrocarbons which can cause respiratory irritation if inhaled and possibly CNS depression.  Treatment would be symptomatic and supportive. So far, our poison center has been contacted by one person with an indirect exposure who is experiencing dizziness."

It asks emergency departments to contact poison control should they receive any patients who exhibit symptoms related to last night's fire. The poison center can be reached by phone at (402) 955-5555 or 1-800-222-1222.


UPDATE 7:45 a.m.

The Omaha Fire Department provided an update on the fire Tuesday morning.

Deputy Fire Chief Kathy Bossman thanked the fire department's community partners for help supporting fire extinguishing efforts.

Batallion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said there were challenges putting out the fire due to limited access. With railroad tracks on both sides of the building, it was hard to get to the back of the structure to put water on the fire. The fire department was able to work with Union Pacific and Burlington Railroad to shut down railroad lines for firefighter safety. Fitzpatrick said later in the night, they were able to get a rig in the back of the structure to attack the fire from the railroad track side.

Additionally, Omaha Public Power District was able to shut down power lines in the area to protect firefighters from fallen lines. At this time, no injuries have been reported for civilians or first responders.

Approximately 13 people showed up to the Community Center when the neighborhood was under a recommended evacuation. Two families were put up in a hotel while one family stayed with friends.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to Fitzpatrick. Once hot spots are completely extinguished, fire investigators will begin to determine the cause, which is not thought to be suspicious at this time.

Fitzpatrick added that the building contained propane bottles and other chemicals. Some items flew at least 50 feet in the air due to explosions.

There were about 50 firefighters battling the flames during the high point of the fire. No one was in the building when firefighters arrived.

The owner of the building is fully cooperating with the fire department.

Fitzpatrick said he doesn't believe there is any threat to the public from smoke coming off of the building.

Chemicals going into wastewaters are being monitored by Omaha Public Works to ensure they're diluted and taken care of at the treatment plant.

UPDATE 6:00 a.m.

Omaha fire crews spent the night battling a three-alarm chemical fire that eventually turned into a two-alarm overnight at the Nox-Crete facility on 20th street just south of downtown.

That massive fire near 20th and E caused trouble in parts of the downtown area and south Omaha, with heavy smoke throughout parts of the city. The first call came in just before 7:00 p.m. Monday.

While the response has been downgraded, there still remains a presence of firefighters at the scene Tuesday morning. However, 3 News Now has confirmed that an evacuation recommendation has been lifted for all people in this area.

That evacuation notice encompassed residents from 13th to 20th and Leavenworth to Martha.

The Nox-Crete company makes concrete sealing products and they work with chemicals inside that facility.

The fire department says there are propane bottles inside the facility. It's currently unknown what else they had inside.

As of Tuesday morning, no injuries have been reported.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.

Omaha Fire Department recommends evacuation due to smoke and fire for areas between 13th and 20th Streets and Leavenworth to Martha Streets. OFD says to avoid entering the area.

There are no injuries reported according to Scott Fitzpatrick, OFD Public Information Officer. The fire department does know there are propane bottles inside the facility but are unsure of what else they have inside currently.

According to 3 News Now Reporter Ron Johnson, the battalion chief on the scene said that the fire is unlikely to spread. We will keep tabs on updates from OFD as the situation develops.

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OFD firefighters approach the Nox Crete fire on May 30, 2022.

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An administrative building across the street from the Nox Crete plant is seen as the factory burns in the background in downtown Omaha, Neb. on May 30, 2022.

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Before crossing the railroad trestle, a massive plume of smoke is all that can be seen though the flames burn just below it at the Nox Crete Fire on May 30, 2022 in Omaha, Neb.


Omaha fire crews are responding to a large fire at the Nox-Crete facility on 20th Street south of downtown.
KMTV crews in the area report hearing explosions, and there is a large plume of smoke in the area.

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