(Omaha) According to audio provided to KSOM/KS95 news by KETV Channel 7 news in Omaha, Interim Omaha Fire Chief Bernard Kanger said during the 3:00 p.m. press conference that there are fatalities as the result of the industrial accident that resulted in a structural fire at the International Nutrition plant in South Omaha that occurred at around 10:00 a.m. this morning.
“First arriving crews arrived on scene and they noticed that there was a fire at the time and that there had been a structural collapse with numerous victims,” stated Kanger. “They announced a second alarm at 10:07 a.m. and declared this a mass casualty accident.”
According to KETV Channel 7 news there were 38 employees in the building.
“Of those 38 individuals the Omaha Fire Department has transported 10 of them to local hospitals; four of those individuals are in critical condition and six have non-life threatening injuries,” explained Kanger. “We had seven additional personnel that refused treatment or care and were not transported to the hospital.”
Kangar says 25-percent of the building sustained significant damage and they have not been able to clear the building yet in terms of going through and conducting an effective search because of the significant collapse and significant risk to their individuals. He said they had to pull everybody out of the structure and call in specialized teams that can secure and shore up the building in order to allow them to completely clear the structure and declare that they have found all of the individuals that were in the building at the time of the incident.
“There are fatalities. We are not going to release the number of those fatalities at this time simply because we have not had the opportunity to clear the entire structure,” said Kanger.
Kanger says the rescue has gone from rescue mode to recovery mode.
“The chance of finding any victims that are alive is no longer there and now it is a recovery mode where our efforts are to secure the building, go in and retrieve the victims and search for additional victims that may be in the structure,” explained Kanger.
Kanger did say that there are still victims inside the building.
Officials say it could be several hours before anyone will be allowed in the structure.
KETV News is now reported that there are two confirmed deaths.
The audio and information is courtesy of KETV Channel 7 news in Omaha.
Tom Robinson and Mandy Billings
January 20, 2014