Omaha Mortuary Destroyed by Fire Re-Opens

This past weekend an open house was held to celebrate the opening of America’s newest funeral facility — the Heafey Hoffmann Dworak & Cutler Mortuary on West Center Road in Omaha, Nebraska.  The 26,000 square foot structure is built on the same spot where fire destroyed the firm’s 1980 building in January 2016.

According to an article on Omaha.com co-owner Bill Cutler said, ” It’s unbelieveable the support we’ve had from the community, everybody.”

The new mortuary will feature rooms that are larger, and is equipped with the latest technology in video screens and sound systems.  According to the article, the old funeral home could hold up to 500 people and capacity is now at 1,000.

You may remember that in April 2017, the funeral home and its insurers, Cincinnati Casualty Company and Cincinnati Indemnity Company, filed a lawsuit against Matthews International seeking  at least $5.75 million in damages.  The plaintiffs contend that an improper re-build of a cremation machine was the cause of the blaze.

Interestingly enough, the new mortuary will have a crematory on the campus of the funeral home but in a separate building.

The New Heafey Hoffmann Dworak & Cutler Chapel

Funeral Director Daily take:  It is a great story that Heafey Hoffmann Dworak & Cutler have rebuilt and are in the process of opening a fabulous new facility to serve the people of Omaha..  It is also a great story that it is completed within two years of such a devastating loss.  Good for them and good for Omaha.

From a small business point of view this also offers all of us a chance to take a deep breath and inventory our fire and safety procedures as well as what we have in place for insurance coverage and interim operating facilities if something like this happened to us.  I always had an agreement with a former church facility in town who would allow us to use their facility in the possible case where we needed to vacate our facility.

Finally, this story also shows us that it is probably a good measure to walk around your facility every year when you property and casualty insurance bill comes due.  Walk around and look at everything with an eye towards “is there something here that I can do to further prevent fires.”  Simply seeing overloaded electric outlets could make a difference.

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