What caused the gas leak that led to an explosion in the Old Market area of Omaha on January 9th is still not known.
Mayor Jean Stothert says the ice buildup from fighting the fire and extremely cold weather has slowed investigation efforts.
Mayor Stothert says, “Crews have been trying to warm 11th Street with these ground thawing machines for several days. There is a thick layer of ice and they are trying to make it easier for the fire investigators to reach the source of the natural gas leak. The ice also blocked access to the water stop boxes that are below street level so there is still water coming into the M’s building and that is effecting all those in the condominiums in the 420 Building that is just west of there so those residents have not yet been able to get in there.”
Mayor Stothert says an ice covered awning collapsed. Crews will be bringing in equipment Wednesday to remove that and other debris so hopefully they will be able to get to the water shut-off. The owner hopes to save as much of the building as possible but recent thawing and refreezing has weakened the outside walls.
It will take some time to find out who is legally responsible for the damage. Mayor Stothert says Verizon was installing fiber optic cables and had hired one company who sub-contracted another company to do the work in front of the M’s Pub building. She says investigators will eventually find out who was at fault and go from there.