Old Market businesses stress they're open...

Posted at 8:07 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 21:07:40-05

“They’re here to see what may have been the point of origin for the fire,” said Jay Davis.

For hours, crews sprayed hot water and immediately vacuumed it up to prevent a re-freeze.  Layers of ice had to be melted away in order to begin digging underground.

“They’re going to cut the concrete out and going to excavate with the truck around the area where they were boring and where the pipe goes in and see what happened there,” said Davis.

Omaha Chief Building Inspector Jay Davis says fire investigators, city inspectors and insurance companies will be doing all of Thursday’s investigation without ever entering M’s Pub.  They were protected by an above ground safety trench box the entire time.

“If anything falls, the box is going to protect the people inside,” said Davis.

Davis says for safety reasons, the investigation process has forced them to close down a portion of sidewalk directly across from M’s Pub.

“It’s unfair and I don’t know, it’s hurting everyone here and these businesses weren’t even burnt down,” said SOUQ Limited Boutique employee, Krystal Kelly Warren.

Since the fire, customers have been few and far between at SOUQ.

“If there is tape in front of your building, everyone is going to assume your store front is closed,” said Warren.

Yellow caution tape and a steel fence have been bad for business at the Old Market Passageway.

“Now that the sidewalk is closed right in front of our gallery, it has been very difficult to get anyone in here because they have to walk all the way around the building to come in,” said Sarah McWilliams, a Passageway Gallery artist.

A handful of businesses at the Old Market Passageway had to close because of smoke damage, but the majority of businesses are still open and trying to make the most out of their current situation.

“It is what it is, there is really nothing we can do about it, expect just invite people to come to our gallery,” said McWilliams.

Jay Davis announced good news Thursday night, they will be removing the steel fence in front of the businesses sometime Friday.