Omaha Fire Department responded at 10:50 a.m. to the home of Mike Pindell on state Route 1 in downtown Omaha to find it engulfed in fire.
“The home was fully involved. The whole first floor was involved and most of the second floor was fully involved,” Omaha Fire Chief Sean Martin said.
The large, two-story home was of the balloon frame construction style popular in the 19th century, Martin said. That type of construction allows for fire to quickly spread into spaces between walls and travel upwards rapidly.
“It goes like a chimney,” Martin said.
The house was dangerous to enter and the fire department called for mutual aid from Ridgway, Shawneetown, Eldorado and Norris City. The Ridgway ladder truck parked on the highway shooting water and other departments shuttled water back and forth from the water tower. State Route 1 in Omaha was closed during the fire.
Saline Valley Water Conservancy pumped water into the water tower and while the tower’s water supply got low there was sufficient water to see extinguishment through to the end, Martin said.
Martin said the house was dangerous to enter and so there will not be an investigation for the cause of the fire.
“The structure wasn’t sound enough for us to go in and do much investigating. We didn’t feel it was worth guys going in and getting and getting hurt on it,” Martin said.
Pindell was the sole occupant of the home and did not have insurance, Martin said.
One of the Omaha firefighters said his great-uncle had built the house around the turn of the century.
“At one time it was real beautiful home and everybody admired it. You could call it a landmark home,” Martin said.
Omaha and Norris City firefighters remained on the scene for six hours. The other departments remained four to five hours, Martin said.
Pierson Hill fire
Harrisburg firefighters Saturday evening extinguished a fire at an abandoned house at 300 Pierson Hill Road, south of Harrisburg.
Firefighters arrived 6:26 p.m. to find fire on the outside of the structure, as though it had just begun, according to firefighters.
There is no known cause and damage was minimal. The house is owned by July Beal.
Firefighters were on the scene about half an hour. It was the second house in that area this year to catch fire, firefighters said.