Highway 275 looked a lot different Sunday morning as thick smoke bellowed across near downtown Neligh, but the changes yet to come are what will really change the look of the area. The house between Smitty's Super Clean and the old hotel fell victim of a controlled burn by the Neligh Volunteer Fire Department. The house is owned by Craig and Melissa Smith of Neligh and is just the first of such controlled burns to take place in the next month. "We plan to burn the house, the old hotel, Helmer's Furniture, Neligh Locker and the garage behind it all in the next month," Melissa Smith said while watching the Neligh firefighters train with the burn. View More Photos
"Being able to remove the eyesore that's in the middle of Neligh and provide training for the Neligh Fire Department is great," she said. "We have a tremendous fire department and are happy they are able to do this." The Smiths own Smitty's Super Clean, Big Red Motorsports (in Neligh and O'Neill) and State Farm Insurance. Craig Smith said they wanted to remove the eyesores from the community and enable future development along Highway 275.
More than a dozen firefighters spend the morning a the house. Fire Chief Mike Mortensen said teams of two firefighters entered the structure together and knocked down the fire. Another team of two firefighters followed and did the same, going from room to room beginning with the northwest corner, then southwest, back to the north central room before ending in the front of the structure. Mortensen said the opportunity to provided continued training to the firefighters is extremely valuable. Smith said they are planning to use a controlled burn with the rest of the structures and provide more training to the firefighters as they fight fires with adjoining walls from different structures. She said that burn is scheduled for late June but will be determined by the weather and other factors.