What is a 3 alarm fire? Residents urged to evacuate as major blaze breaks out in Omaha chemical company 

Residents urged to evacuate as 3 alarm fire breaks out in Omaha chemical company (via Facebook/Omaha Fire Department)
Residents urged to evacuate as 3 alarm fire breaks out in Omaha chemical company (via Facebook/Omaha Fire Department)

Locals in Omaha, Nebraska, have been advised to vacate their homes after a major fire broke out near the city's downtown district, according to fire officials.

As per reports from KETV, at least 50 firemen battled the 3-alarm explosion at the Nox Crete complex near 20th Street and Center Street. Additionally, dense swirls of black smoke were seen for miles above the city.

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A massive fire broke out at an industrial plant near 20th Street and Woolworths Avenue a few minutes before 7 pm Monday, according to an Omaha Fire report. OFD authorities recommended staying put, but then issued an emergency signal advising residents between 13th and 20th streets, as well as Leavenworth and Martha streets, to evacuate due to "smoke and fire." They also suggested that individuals who were unable to escape immediately remain in their homes with windows and doors fastened.

Around 10:30 pm, authorities sent a notice regarding an evacuation center set up at the Columbus Community Center at 523 S. 24th St., where the Red Cross was on hand to assist, according to Omaha Fire officials.

According to the Omaha Fire Department report, firefighters were able to enter the building after initially classifying it as a two-alarm fire, which was officially called at 7:17 pm. However, the fire was larger than expected, and personnel were forced to leave shortly after, exacerbating the situation to a three-alarm fire around 7:45 p.m.

Reportedly, around 8:15 pm, loud explosions were heard at the scene. Explosions flared every few minutes after that when propane tanks and other chemical containers caught on fire, but they seemed to lose steam after about a half-hour.

There had been no reports of injuries as of 9:15 pm. According to the battalion chief, the front half of the structure collapsed, although no firefighters were inside at the time.

According to the OFD report received late monday,

"the fire peneterated the roof, causing walls to become structurally unstable."

What is 3-alarm fire that caused Omaha residents to flee their homes?

3 alarm fire blazing at city's downtown Omaha, Nebraska (via Facebook/Omaha Fire Department)
3 alarm fire blazing at city's downtown Omaha, Nebraska (via Facebook/Omaha Fire Department)

When compared to a single alarm fire, three alarms indicate that resources will be deployed three times.

This necessitates the inclusion of a new alarm assignment. It could be a larger, more complex occurrence, or simply a fire that takes longer to extinguish.

When a fire burns longer, more people must rotate out to ensure that firefighters can safely perform their duties.

At this point, the fire department recognises that the firemen on duty will require assistance in maintaining their energy levels, and can dispatch a van loaded with both food and electrolyte supplies.

Firefighters are expected to be up all night battling the blaze, hoping for rain to possibly put out the flames. According to the report, Omaha Public Power District was also on the location because there were high-voltage transmission lines nearby. Additionally, seven engines, three trucks, and two medics were also sent to the site.

Edited by Babylona Bora