(SOUTH SIOUX CITY, NE) - A fixture of the Siouxland bowling scene since the late 1950's has been hit by fire. A fire so big that four departments were called in to help battle that blaze.
Harmony Lanes in South Sioux has hosted many state championships and tournaments during the years. Now its future may be in doubt.
Firefighters got a call around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday when someone spotted smoke coming from the building, which houses 16 lanes. It quickly escalated as firefighters tried to find the source of the fire. The fire assistant chief says it is one of the worst fires he's had to deal with in a while.
A saw was the go-to tool for firefighters as Harmony Lanes burned. An unsightly scene for Tyler Lane, who's been going to the alley since he was four-years-old. "My mom got a call and then she told me. I was in complete shock. I was devastated," said Tyler Lane. Tyler's mom is one of the firefighters who stepped up to fight the flames inside the bowling alley. "I thought someone was hurt and my mom's out there. I just thank God she's not hurt and no one else is hurt," said Lane. Thick smoke billowed out of the building as crews continually tried to stop the flames. "With a bowling alley, with a lot of oil and the chemicals they use to treat the floors and all that stuff. It's making it very difficult right now to suppress the fire," said South Sioux City Fire Assistant Chief Clint Nelson. On top of that, the building has a lot of metal inside - holding in even more heat. That's why firefighters sawed out hole, after hole, after hole to try to let the smoke out. We found an even more veteran bowler: 41 years at Harmony Lanes. "A lot of history here. I grew up bowling when I was little and bowling all as an adult as well. In fact, my ball and shoes are still inside there," said Bob Boyle. It was an even scarier situation inside for the brave. "We had two firefighters call out a may day because they got disoriented inside when they were trying to get access to a door to open up inside because it was bolted and blocked on the inside," said Assistant Chief Nelson. Those firefighters got out safely and got themselves hydrated. "I knew the original owners real well. They were friends of mine. The new owners have becomes friends as well, too - certainly feeling for their loss as well as the proximity of my home being in South Sioux. It's upsetting," said Boyle. Assistant Chief Nelson says he can't call it a total loss yet, but it will be red tagged with the extensive damage inside.
In the hay-days of bowling Harmony was one of more than a half dozen bowling alleys in the metro area. For now, this fire leaves the community with two: Plaza Lanes on Hamilton and Rush Lanes near Lewis and Clark Park.