The improper disposal of smoking materials caused a blaze that destroyed a southwest Omaha apartment building on Friday, fire officials have concluded.
Assistant Fire Chief Dan Stolinski said Monday that a cigarette stubbed out in potting soil reignited on the deck of a second-floor apartment balcony at the Applewood Point apartment complex. An estimated 80 people evacuated the building at 9506 S Plaza, including one who was treated for smoke inhalation.
“People don't realize it, but some potting soil is actually flammable,” Stolinski said. “This happens more than you would think.”
The roof and portions of third- and second-floor ceilings of the building caved in, and Batallion Chief Robb Gottsch said he doubted that the structure could be saved. Firefighters needed more than three hours to extinguish the fire.