A cigarette is blamed for causing Saturday’s fire at a Grand Island high-rise apartment building which killed one person, critically injured another and left more than 100 residents displaced.
Smoke from the upper floors of Centennial Towers led one woman to jump to her death, according to Grand Island Fire Chief Corey Schmidt. Another person was left with critical burns.
The woman who fell to her death has been identified as 63-year-old Sarah Nyayual Both, a native of Sudan, who emigrated to the U.S.
Fire officials were challenged by the 134-foot tall building. The tallest ladder truck on scene had a 95-foot platform.
Schmidt said the building also was not equipped with a sprinkler system because it wasn’t required when it was built. The Red Cross is assisting those displaced by the fire.
By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney
Original story, published at 6:24 AM
The Grand Island Fire Department says a woman in a burning high-rise apartment building jumped to her death just as crews arrived on the scene Saturday afternoon.
The unidentified woman was reportedly hanging out a window on the ninth floor and, before firefighters could put up a ladder, she jumped.
A second resident was found in a hallway with severe burns. Other people living in the building were able to get outside safely.
The Nebraska State Fire Marshal is assisting in the investigation. Fire officials are looking for an ignition source.
The fire reportedly broke out on the ninth floor of the 11-story building, which did not have a sprinkler system. Reports say it was built before sprinklers were required.