Omaha, NE Eagle Hotel Fire, Jan 1965


Omaha (UPI) -- Two persons were killed and nine hospitalized in poor condition today in an early morning three-alarm fire at a downtown Omaha hotel.

A total of about 80 persons were evacuated from the Eagle Hotel at 14th and Harney streets.

One of the dead was identified as JOSEPH KOKSAL, JR., 54. The other victim was tentatively identified as FREDERICK D. ROBIDOU, 53.

In poor condition at Douglas County Hospital were PERCY BUSH, 34; HAROLD E. HUSKEY, 48; CLARENCE GILLETTE, 69; THOMAS TIGER, 37; MARIAN KELLER, 37; RICHARD K. MOORE, 69; JOHN L. HANLEY, 46, and EDWARD HARDISTY, 65.
Suffers Fractures.

BUSH suffered fractures to the shoulder and arm, while the others all suffered from smoke inhalation.

Earlier, Omaha Public Safety Director CHRIS GUGAS had said he believed three persons had perished in the fire.

GUGAS said the fire apparently started in the adjacent Silver Tap Bar at about 4 a.m. The blaze did damage to the bar and the second and third floors of the five-story hotel. Damage was also caused by smoke.

Police and fire officials made a room-to-room search of the building, after the blaze was brought under control.

Occupants of the hotel were routed out in 19-degree temperatures. The freezing weather hampered fire-fighting operations.

The occupants of the hotel were taken to other nearby hotels. Some took up temporary quarters in a nearby garage.

Five rescue squad units answered the call with the fire department at the hotel.
The blaze was discovered by an hotel clerk, who said he smelled smoke shortly after 4 a.m. He said the smoke came from the bar and "all of a sudden seemed to whoosh through the hotel."

The clerk tripped the fire alarm and began ringing elevator buttons to warn the occupants. He said the people started coming down almost immediately.

Fire officials said there was little actual fire damage to the hotel. The blaze was quickly brought under control.

The Columbus Daily Telegram Nebraska 1965-01-15