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Fate of the Mercer building still unknown

Posted at 10:50 PM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-23 23:50:46-05

Two weeks since the explosion at M’s Pub, the fate of the Mercer building is still unknown as investigators try and figure out if they can save it.

The last two day the owners hired private investigator to inspect the damage.

“Any event like this takes a long time, but each day is a step closer,” said Jay Davis, Omaha Assistant Planning Director and Supervisor of Inspection.

The question of whether the building will last has been a huge one.

“I am glad to see the building is still standing, I was here earlier just afar the fire and it was scary at that time, but now I see it is still standing and I am hopeful it is not a total loss,” said Oliver Bonham-Carter, who is a relative to the Mercer family.

On Saturday the private investigators took a closer look at the building by riding around in a basket operated by a crane.

“This will at least give us an idea of what we are going to do from here forward,” said Davis.

One of the big questions right now is the durability of the north wall, through all the de-icing it has shifted and there has been talk of knocking it down.

“That is what we are looking at right now, weather we have to do some shoring to it or take it down, that is there engineers call,” said Davis.

The fire department said in order to find out what sparked the explosion they need to get into the basement, but Davis says that will take some time, “it’s really going to be a little while, there is a lot of debris what come down when the floors collapsed, so to get to the area they want to get to we are going to have to pick the building apart piece by piece.”

As foot traffic in the Old Market is getting back to normal, those who come to see what remains of the building are hoping there is a way to save it.

“I hope they restore it, it’s part of Omaha history,” said one visitor. 

The private inspectors finished their work Saturday afternoon, and now they will take all they have gathered and figure out the next step.

“I hope they can rebuild it, it would be very, very sad if this building were lost, because this building is a wonderful building” said Bonham-Carter.

Davis said he should have an update sometime next week.