Some UNO Students Worried About Rampant Smoking

By: Paul Gutierrez

OMAHA (KPTM) - It was an accident waiting to happen, according to some students with ties to UNO's Scott Village. The fire investigators determined was caused by careless smoking Thursday didn't exactly catch some people off guard.

"A lot of kids didn't want to have to go all the way down the stairs and go to a secluded area, so they instead went to a balcony," said Mike Zelensky, who had friends at the dorms.

UNO policy states residents are not allowed to smoke inside buildings, on patios, balconies and within ten feet of a structure, but some people apparently didn't get that memo.

"It hits home, especially when your classmates live there," said Zelensky.

By early afternoon, students and their families were left to pick up the pieces. Through a window you could even see workers tidying up.

"You have to wonder what's next?," said Rob McClenahan, who also had friends at the dorms.

It's a question students wish they didn't have to ask the hard way.

"You've got to wonder what kind of influence this will have on the incoming freshmen and their decision to live in the dorms," said McClenahan.

Anyone caught violating UNO's smoking policy is subject to a fine of up to $100; a penalty some people now want to see get stiffer, so a fire like the one Wednesday doesn't happen again.