On Saturday afternoon, one of downtown Omaha's oldest restaurant icons M's Pub went up in flames when a sudden explosion erupted from the building during lunch service.The Omaha World-Herald reports that fire began consuming the Old Market-area eatery shortly after and explosion forced out the restaurant's patio windows. Prior to the fire, several people called into 911 operators reporting that they smelled natural gas. Everyone in the restaurant as well as from nearby condos and businesses were safely evacuated. ABC captured video from the scene as fire emergency crews worked into the afternoon:
"It almost knocked me out of the chair. And I went right to the front window and saw all the people running out of M's, and all the workers running across the street," Marilyn Turtello, a resident from a nearby building, tells the World-Herald. Other residents say they saw crews working on pipes surrounding M's Pub throughout the past week. "It is so sad. It is so iconic," bystander Gena Dushan says.
"From the looks of it, I can't believe that someone wasn't more seriously hurt," says co-owner Ron Samuelson, who was out of town at the time of the explosion. Although it's still unclear how significant the damage is, Samuelson plans to rebuild. "Our customers will rally around us," he says.