OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's been 72 hours since a fire took out a large chemical storage warehouse in downtown Omaha.
When firefighters arrived on the scene of the massive three-alarm Nox-Crete fire Monday night, they didn’t know what they were getting into. Despite pressure from the public and media, including repeated attempts by 3 News Now to Nox-Crete Manufacturing Inc. who owned the warehouse, the chemicals that burned are still unknown as of Thursday.
In a yearly report, Nox-Crete listed over two dozen chemicals in their inventory at the sprawling downtown site, which includes the burned-down warehouse, offices and a production facility that did not burn down. Some of those chemicals were listed as extremely hazardous.
However, 3 News Now obtained a separate report that gives a better idea of what the warehouse looked like inside and what chemicals it may have stored before it burned down.
The report was prepared by a consultant for Nox-Crete, unrelated to the fire, and detailed elements of the facility. It was posted to a state agency website just this week.
It shows a map, which indicates the burned warehouse stored finished products inside and a separate part of the report states the building stored "raw materials, including a variety of solvent, petroleum, and water based chemicals.” The report claims those raw products would move to other areas of the complex for production and then come back into the warehouse in containers holding up to 275 gallons.
Evidence of the storage is also shown in pictures listed in the report.
A public relations firm for Nox-Crete told 3 News Now they’re not interested in talking and referred our reporter to a state agency, who also can’t speak on the matter and is working on its own report.
3 News Now is still looking for answers regarding the crucial question of which chemicals burned into the air. As of now, it remains unknown which chemicals may have been inhaled by nearby Omaha residents and firefighters as a result of the fire.
“The department did not know what chemicals were in the building when we dispatched. We knew it was a chemical storage place but we didn’t know exactly what chemicals were on site,” said Kathy Bossman, assistant chief at the Omaha Fire Department.
Nox-Crete has said little on what specific chemicals burned up in the fire Monday. Nox-Crete did not attend a community meeting Wednesday despite telling 3 News Now Wednesday the company would be present at the meeting.
“There is a community forum tonight at six o’clock, so they’ll be a representative,” said a company employee named Becky on Wednesday.
But they didn’t show.
Nox-Crete told Douglas County Commissioner Roger Garcia, who organized the meeting, that the company wanted to wait so they would not provide inaccurate information.
“They were invited but they did decline to participate,” said Douglas County Commissioner Roger Garcia.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it has been on-site, collecting samples of soil, surface water and ash from the site and downwind of the facility. The EPA has also ruled out the presence of asbestos inside the facility.
The EPA also said Nox-Crete has a series of violations with the most recent coming in 2020.
Below, see the full 'Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment'
Below, see the Notice of Environmental Concern that lists three releases materials.
Below, see a list of all the chemicals at the site for any amount of time in 2021. It is not guaranteed all the chemicals on the list were involved in the fire.
3 News Now's Aaron Hegarty contributed to this report.