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Fire at the terminal building

A firefighter is framed in a blackened window Feb. 19 following an early morning fire at the Terminal Building. 

People with offices inside the Terminal Building could be displaced for up to two months as investigators continue to probe the cause of last month's fire at the historic high-rise in downtown Lincoln.

The investigation has moved slower than most because of the different insurance companies covering the building and each of the affected businesses, Lincoln Fire Inspector Chuck Schweitzer said.

His investigation alone could take another week to 10 days because of scheduling issues, Schweitzer said Thursday.

"There's some electrical issues we have to get verified," he said.

No one was inside the building Feb. 19 when fire crews arrived to check on a fire alarm at 5:45 a.m., Battalion Chief Leo Benes said.

Crews could see flames coming from an office window. The three-alarm fire was eventually contained to the northwest corner of the eighth floor, which houses Legal Aid of Nebraska.

That 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.

Since the fire, only two businesses in the building have been able to access their spaces: Danny's Downtown Deli and Light Works Studio. Both are on the ground floor.

On its Facebook page, Danny's said it was waiting on updated fire-suppression equipment and for the whole building to be returned to the electronic fire-monitoring system.

Access to upper floors of the 10-story building remains restricted because of the ongoing investigation, Schweitzer said.

Built in 1916, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It includes commercial space and offices.

While a final damage estimate hasn't been determined, the building didn't suffer any substantial structural damage and will not be condemned, Schweitzer said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

Reporter

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

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