The video contributor to AKSARBENT who shot the above tells us that in the last several weeks he has seen the Omaha Fire Department extinguish two fires of vacant houses; one was near Sherman School on 16th, within blocks of last night's incineration of another vacant home at 17th & Ogden, where, according to a fireman on the scene, flames shot forty feet into the air.
We're told that the poor, but lily-white (draw your own conclusions) district of Northeast Omaha, bordered by the largest black enclave in Omaha, has had an elevated arson rate for decades, and apparently the still-uncaught perps are either pursuing their nocturnal hobby into middle or old age or else their children have decided to carry on a family tradition.
Call us crazy, but we doubt arson this audacious and this longstanding would be allowed to flourish anywhere in West Omaha.
The Omaha Fire Department turned out to be very interested in talking to Our Contributor, a night owl who was returning from a shopping expedition when he saw the fire trucks and decided to deploy the camcorder he usually takes with him. When OFD started asking him some rather pointed questions, he turned on the camera. Here is our transcript:
OC: ...Okay, so you're asking me my name...AKSARBENT advised our contributor to save all shopping and ATM receipts from the night, not that we believe that the OFD or the OPD would ever hassle anyone deservedly innocent of suspicion.
OFD: What is your last name sir...
OFD: What time did you show up as far as after the fire got going?
OC: About five minutes ago. And what is your name?
OFD: [Something] Jones. Omaha Fire Department. Serial number 9056.
OC: ...Do you regard people who live in the neighborhood who photograph what goes around as being suspicious and is my name going into a database?
OFD: Oh, no, no. I'm just talking to any witnesses. I'm going to knock on some doors.
OC: But I already told you that I wasn't a witness and that I drove by after the fact.
OFD: After the fact... so you saw something...
OC: What I told you is that I saw the flashing lights and that I live in the neighborhood.
OFD: Oh no, you didn't tell me... "flashing lights."
OC: Yes I did, yes I did.
OFD: I thought you said you saw the fire.
OC: No. I didn't say that.
OFD: Okay, that's fine.
OC: I didn't say that.
OFD: I'm not trying to say you said something you didn't say. Where is your vehicle parked?
OC: You want to know where my vehicle is? It's over there.... (pointing)