This January marks the one year anniversary of the devastating fire that tore through the heart of Omaha’s Old Market and obliterated one of its oldest and most beloved restaurants — M’s Pub. On Jan. 9, 2016, the Mercer building went up in flames after an alleged gas leak and explosion in the restaurant.
The damage was deep — M’s Pub and the Nouvelle Eve clothier were burned-out masses in a structure caked by ice. Apartments in the building were also destroyed. Nearby businesses closed. Barricades impeded traffic.
While the night of the disaster was last winter’s coldest on record, the aftermath of the fire left the hearts of many Omaha locals cold for the next three days.
On this one-year anniversary, Marian students are remembering the sadness that radiated on that day.
“I was really sad to hear that M’s Pub burned down because my parents first met there,” junior Grace Woltemath said.
The fire struck fear in those who were in the Old Market area on that fateful night. Junior Lily Heim was eating dinner right across the street from M’s Pub and saw the fire begin and escalate. “It was terrifying,” Heim said. “It didn’t seem like it was real life — I felt like I was watching a movie.”
Senior Sam Schueler was downtown when the fire happened. “I saw all of the fire trucks pass me,” Schueler said. “I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I learned where the trucks were headed soon enough.”
There was also a widespread panic among those who had loved ones working in the Old Market on the day of the accident. Freshman Daisy Owen’s dad was in M’s Pub for a meeting that finished about five minutes before the fire began. “We were all really worried. He sent us pictures from the outside of the restaurant — it looked awful,” Owen said.
According to the Omaha World Herald, the blame for the fire’s initiation still is not resolved. Investigators plan to carefully and thoughtfully come to a conclusion; precautions are being taken in order to prevent misconceptions and false accusations.
As far as rebuilding goes, the shell of M’s that remained after the fire has been undergoing clean-up and reconstruction ever since March of last year.
The restaurant hopes to reopen again this summer, with much of the same staff returning, according to the Omaha World Herald.
Omahans are eager to see M’s up and running again after such a horrific sight was burned into their minds on that cold night last January.
“M’s Pub is one of my family’s favorite places in Omaha,” senior Macy Thonen said. “I’m excited for it to reopen and return to all its former glory — I’m sure it will feel like it never even closed.”