Omaha Fire Department investigators determined the cause of the explosion at 11th and Howard Streets in the Old Market on January 9th. Battalion Chief Doug Krysl says there was work underway in front of the M’s Pub building where independent contractors were installing a fiber optic cable.
Battalion Chief Krysl says, “The morning of the 9th, they had bored under the sidewalk in front of M’s Pub into a ditch they had dug on the north end of M’s Pub by the alleyway at which time, it is my understanding, they put on a bigger bore-head and were boring back in for their conduit and that is when the gas line was hit.”
Investigators removed the sidewalk and moved dirt to expose the gas line. The damaged section of line allowed the gas to leak into the basement of the building. Once in the basement an unknown ignition source ignited the gas causing the fire and explosion.
Assistant Fire Chief Dan Olsen says, “Our main goal is to get into the basement of M’s Pub and assess the gas service inside the basement. Determine just how the gas traveled into that space and pinpoint a more accurate ignition source. We have learned there are several potential ignition sources in that basement, pilot lights and things of that nature.”
The fire has been determined to be accidental.