Saturday, June 22, 2013
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Blaze causes considerable damage to Oasis Senior Center

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[June 22, 2013]  It is widely believed that at approximately 4:20 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, lightning may have struck the Oasis Senior Center, starting a blaze that took multiple fire departments several hours to put out.

The building is owned by the Oasis Senior Center and is on the city's historic buildings list.

No official report has been released from the Lincoln Fire Department, so information gleaned thus far is from a variety of witnesses who worked in buildings close by.

According to Mayor Keith Snyder, he was participating in the D.A.R.E. golf outing at the Elks Country Club. He was just leaving the club at around 5:30 p.m. when he received a call from Patrick Doolin telling him the Oasis was on fire. Doolin is owner of Integrity Data, located in the historic Scully building two blocks from the Oasis on Kickapoo Street.

Snyder said he came straight to the downtown square and was able to assist Lincoln Fire Department Chief Mark Miller by calling all the backup fire companies on the chief's emergency call list.

On the scene, LDN staff witnessed the presence of firefighters from Sherman, Atlanta, Middletown, Emden, Latham, Lincoln Rural, Beason and Hartsburg. It is unknown at this time if that is the complete list of all the area fire departments that were involved.

Also on scene were the Logan County Paramedics and the Logan County EMA communications command center.

LDN arrived on the scene at approximately 6 p.m. At that time smoke was billowing from the roof of the Oasis. Firefighters were on top of the building, cutting holes into the roof.

Within minutes flames were shooting out of the roof. Fire departments then proceeded to position ladder trucks armed with water and start spraying down into the second floor of the building.

According to Snyder, the upstairs apartment of the Oasis had recently been vacated, and there was no one at the Oasis Center. He said he was told that a family in an adjacent apartment did evacuate but were unable to get their pet out. The fire department did go in and rescue the pet.

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While all of this was going on, another fire broke out in another part of town. According to Snyder there was a fire on North Logan that fire departments also had to deal with.

By 7 p.m. smoke was filling the city for several blocks. Firefighters were working to knock down the fire at the Oasis, and at the same time, prevent the fire from spreading to other locations.

According to Snyder they were successful in keeping the fire from spreading to other buildings.

By 8:30 p.m. most of the smoke had subsided and there were no visible signs of fire. Firefighters had two ladder trucks spraying the roof area of the building still at 8 p.m. and by 8:30 had shut down one of those trucks.

Among those who had heard from friends with businesses on the block was Seth Goodman. Goodman said he had talked to Bonnie at the Logan County Title Co. She recounted to him that at 4:20 something drastic happened. She said the folks in the office didn't know what it was at the time, but it was very frightening.

City Alderman Tom O'Donohue was also on the scene. O'Donohue has his residence on North Kickapoo in the O'Donohue building. He recounted that at approximately 4:20 something happened that shook his building.

It was also reported that there were electric outages, phone disruptions and computer failures in buildings around the downtown area at that same time, including the offices of Sally Litterly at the Logan County Courthouse.

A thunderstorm was recorded at the Logan County Airport with lightning in all quadrants at 4:15 p.m.

As stated earlier, no official reports have come out from the fire department. LDN will bring those reports to its readers as soon as they are available.


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