A massive fire destroys a well known Omaha funeral home and injures four people including three firefighters. One of the owners says they're working quickly to make visitation arrangements for families and friends who expected to visit the mortuary.
At 3:20am Tuesday, firefighters respond to a large blaze at the Heafey, Hoffmann, Dworak, & Cutler Funeral Home at 78th & W. Center Rd. A worker called it in when they smelled smoke. Crews first attacked the blaze going inside, but later evacuated since part of a wall and the unstable roof collapsed.
One firefighter inside the building injured his back, two others outside slipped on the ice. Co-owner, Bill Cutler, received a laceration to his head from falling debris when he arrived to the scene. All were taken to the hospital and are expected to recover.
The fire was under control in about 2 1/2 hours.
Cutler has been released from the hospital and spoke with KMTV. He says their main concern is making new arrangements for families who had deceased loved ones at the building. They are working to move visitations to churches, one of their other facilities, and to other funeral homes.
On Tuesday, the mortuary had 5 visitaitons scheduled.
Cutler says he doesn't know what could've started the fire, and that someone is always monitoring the property.
Fire crews continued to monitor hot spots Tuesday afternoon, and are working to extract the bodies.
Cutler says they plan to rebuild at the same location.