Bellevue, Nebraska Construction Site Fire

In the early morning hours of July 2, 2005, The Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department responded to a report of a construction site fire at 10814 S. 15th Street.

A fire command officer enroute to the scene, reported smoke and flames three miles away from the nearly completed Holiday Inn Express.

The first arriving engine companies encountered a fully involved three story wood, brick, and steel structure. A second alarm was sounded, which brought manpower, and equipment from all four Bellevue fire districts.

Suppression efforts began with hand lines, monitors, and an aerial platform. Due to the size of the fire, along with warm humid conditions, the on scene command officer initiated a third alarm, with mutual aid from the LaVista and Plattsmouth Volunteer Fire departments.

Due to the structure being fully involved, and a building collapse during suppression efforts, on scene command officers ruled against any type of interior attack.

The firefighters efforts were hampered by the exterior of the building still under construction, along with the interior of the structure.

Firefighters also encountered a problem in getting equipment close to the structure, due to no paved roadway leading up to the building.

The blaze was fought with fifty firefighters, and equipment that included four engine companies, one snorkel truck, two aerial trucks, one foam unit, and two rescue squads.

A multitude of support vehicles, to include a command post vehicle, two chief units, and two fire investigator vehicles were also on scene.

The Salvation Army was also on location to assist in firefighter rehab. During fire suppression efforts, two Bellevue firemen received minor injuries, one for smoke inhalation, and one for a muscle strain. Both were treated at the scene.

It took firefighters one and a half hours to bring the fire under control, and they were continuing to pour water on the structure late into the evening the following day.

The building was declared a total loss, with damage estimated in excess of two million dollars. Due to the magnitude of the fire, Bellevue fire investigators K.C. Bang, and Mike Stucker requested assistance in the investigation from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms, and Explosives, and the state fire marshals office.

The ATF assisted with four agents that included a Certified Fire Investigator. The state fire marshals office sent two deputy marshals, along with two accelerant detection K-9's.

Bellevue fire investigator K.C. Bang, handler of the departments recently acquired accelerant detection K-9 "Conan", was also used at the scene.

The investigation of this fire is still ongoing, and the cause of the blaze is undetermined at this time.