Body found in burned downtown Omaha building

OMAHA — Members of a crew preparing a downtown Omaha warehouse for demolition Tuesday found a dead body inside, an Omaha police spokesman said.


Emergency personnel investigate after a body was found Tuesday in a burned building set for demolition at 2572 Harney St. in Omaha.

Police and firefighters were called to the vacant warehouse at 2572 Harney St. shortly after noon. Demolition workers reported finding a burned body, Officer Michael Pecha said. 

“They are still investigating,” Pecha said. “It’s unknown if there are any signs of foul play and, obviously, it’s going to take some time make an identification.” 

In a joint press release late Tuesday afternoon, the Omaha Police Department and Omaha Fire Department said homicide and fire investigators are looking into the circumstances around the person’s death.

Investigators from both agencies could be seen along with demolition crew members in the hollowed-out building around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Responders placed what appeared to be the body wrapped in a blue bag on a gurney and hauled it away.

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Pecha said the building has been the site of several fires. On April 8, a two-alarm fire broke out in the building about 3:50 a.m.

The roof collapsed as firefighters battled the fire from outside, but no injuries were reported.

The fire was reported under control about 5 a.m. Firefighters said that there was evidence someone was living in the building and that the cause of the fire was under investigation.

The two-story warehouse was erected in 1915, according to the Douglas County Assessor’s Office, and has over 25,000 square feet of space. It is valued for tax purposes at $68,300.

The Fire Department is leading the investigation. An autopsy is set to be conducted, police spokesman Officer Chris Gordon said. 

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World-Herald staff writer Dan Crisler contributed to this report.

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