Strong winds fuel fire at vacant Omaha apartment complex | State


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Strong winds made it difficult for firefighters to extinguish a fire Sunday at a senior living apartment building under construction in southwest Omaha.

Omaha Fire Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said 88 firefighters were on site at the Ovation Senior Living complex near 144th and Pacific streets at the height of the response to the four-alarm fire that was reported shortly before 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The blaze was under control by 11:30 a.m.

“The winds were a factor for sure. They kept whipping up hot spots,” Fitzpatrick said.

Five aerial trucks were used to attack the fire from the roof. Fitzpatrick told the Omaha World-Herald that firefighters cut a long, narrow ventilation hole in the roof of the structure to act as a fire break to help slow the fire in the four-story building.

Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries after one became overheated and another had a cut on a hand, but both were able to return to fighting the blaze after they were treated at the scene.

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The Ovation Senior Living complex had been slated to open later this year with 300 units, including independent living, assisted living and memory care apartments.

“We are grateful to the first responders who have worked to limit the damage to the building that is Ovation East,” said Stephanie Grade, the general manager of Ovation by Avamere. “Fortunately, none of our residents had moved in yet, and we are extremely thankful for that.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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