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Property owners deal with 'disrespectful' behavior from onlookers during Nox-Crete fire

Posted at 7:01 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 20:01:05-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As smoke from the fire darkened the Downtown Omaha skyline Monday night, hundreds of onlookers gathered. They stood stunned, despite a shelter-in-place order and later a recommendation for evacuation.

"Aren't we the people that go outside to look at tornadoes?" Scott Childers said.

But nearby property owner and neighbor, Jason Watkins isn't so good-humored about all the onlookers.

"Best way I could put it was, it was a circus," Watkins said.

He says dozens of onlookers came to the neighborhood apparently trying to get a better look at the fire. He repeatedly asked them to stay out of his yard and not to trespass.

"It was getting to the point where I was getting frustrated with people, it just became a headache," Watkins said.

He says he called 911 at least seven times.

"I understand the Omaha Police Department. I understand they're busy and all that. Finally, there was an altercation down here on the street, cops had to take away from their resources, come down here and break it up," Watkins said.

Watkins says onlookers hung around past 11 p.m. watching the fire. He found their behavior more shocking than the huge fire near his home.

"You expect people to respect your boundaries, but you can't respect theirs. It's a double standard," Watkins said.

Nox-Crete declined to give a statement to 3 News Now.

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