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Staff for Legal Aid of Nebraska will move into a temporary office in the Haymarket later this week as the investigation into the fire at their Terminal Building offices continues, the organization's executive director said Monday.

Director Milo Mumgaard said the nonprofit will sign a lease on the office this week and the 20-plus staff members will move in.

Their eighth-floor offices in the Terminal Building remained charred and partially closed off because of the fire investigation that began Feb. 19, he said.

"The bottom line is that the whole space is a total loss,” Mumgaard said.

No one was inside the building when fire crews arrived to check on a fire alarm at 5:45 a.m. and found flames coming from an office window, Battalion Chief Leo Benes said.

Legal Aid's floor sustained the most considerable damage, but smoke damage extended at least two floors up, and water caused damage to the two floors below, Benes said.

Lincoln Fire Investigator Chuck Schweitzer said last week the investigation was ongoing and that more testing was scheduled for March 19.

Legal Aid staff have been working at Nonprofit Hub at 14th and P streets. While that new space has been welcoming for his displaced workers, Mumgaard said its openness has not been conducive to conducting private client meetings.

And the organization, which provides legal representation and counsel for low-income families, has not been able to host its weekly consultation hours for people seeking to represent themselves in court.

"Having this kind of tumult is tough, but they are very spirited,” Mumgaard said of his staff.

Staff will work in the new Haymarket office, which will be announced later this week, for six to nine months, he said. By then, Mumgaard expects their Terminal Building floor to be restored and renovated to a new design they had planned before the fire.

"In that sense, it works out pretty well,” Mumgaard said, noting they had planned to close off a third of the office as renovation crews worked.

A previously planned fundraiser for the organization is March 24 at the Haymarket Theatre at 803 Q St.

The event, titled Jazz for Justice, will feature Grammy-nominated singer Karrin Allyson. Tickets for the benefit, where dessert and cocktails will be served, are $75.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


Riley Johnson reports on breaking news and public safety issues in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

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