Tenants of a central Lincoln four-plex were displaced Wednesday after an explosion and fire in the basement destroyed the brick building, police and fire officials said.
Lincoln Fire and Rescue officials couldn't aggressively attack the fire inside 2912 N St., as the home's frame was structurally compromised, Battalion Chief Dave Engler said.
Neighbors reported the blast and fire at 6:05 a.m., and as Engler and other fire crews left the downtown fire station at 18th and Q streets, they could see smoke rising from the building, he said.
Rescue crews searched the units inside, looking for anyone who didn't make it out on their own, he said.
Everyone got out safely, and no one was injured.
"We basically did what we could to make sure the structure was evacuated" before fire crews were pulled out of the building, he said.
City fire investigators won't get inside to determine what caused the explosion and fire until Thursday, Engler said.
Crews will need to methodically demolish part of the east side of the building to make it safe for investigators to analyze the fire's origins, he said.
"If you just start tearing down the building, you start to lose the evidence,” he said.
The fire rendered the two-story building a total loss. It was valued for tax purposes at $98,900.