Fire damages one downtown Sherman building

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Fire crews in Sherman work to put out a fire in the former central appraisal district office in downtown Sherman Monday morning.

A single building was damaged in a downtown Sherman fire Monday morning. Officials with Sherman Fire-Rescue said the fire started around 7:30 a.m. in what was once the Central Appraisal District building in the 100 block of E. Wall St.

As of 10 a.m. Sherman Fire-Rescue Chief Danny Jones said officials had not had the chance to assess the full cause of the fire, which was contained to the rear of the building.  

"Since crews have entered, we pretty much have it under control and contained," Jones said Monday Morning. "We are just cleaning up some hot spots now."

Fire crews in Sherman work to put out a fire in the former central appraisal district office in downtown Sherman Monday morning.

Jones said the building appeared to be mostly vacant, but was recently used for storage. There were no injuries in the blaze, and damage appears to be mostly contained to the single property.

"There is going to be some fire damage, smoke and water damage," Jones said. "We will assess all that later when we can get investigators in to look at the possible cause of the fire."

Despite the investigation only being in its early stages, Jones said crews do not suspect foul play at this time.

"At this point we do not suspect anything suspicious," he said. "That is something our investigators will look into. They will look into the origin of the fire, where it started, things like that."

Jones noted that certain hazards and difficulties, including close buildings, come with fighting a fire in an area like downtown. However, in this case, there weather conditions and other factors played in the favor of firefighters, he said.

"We always have the concern of it going from one building to another," he said. "We kind of had a northwest wind, and that kind of helped us keep it contained to that one building."

While Monday's fire was a close call, it was too close comfort for some downtown residents.

Sean Vanderveer said he was stepping outside his nearby home Monday morning when he smelled the smoke from the fire and called 911. Afterward, Vanderveer went to neighboring homes to check on his neighbors and help them evacuate.

"I just stepped outside to take my daughter to school and could smell the smoke and went up our alleyway to find the source," he said. "I looked through some glass doors and could see the fames in this building."

Fire crews in Sherman work to put out a fire in the former central appraisal district office in downtown Sherman Monday morning.

Vanderveer said he could still remember a similar fire that ultimately destroyed three buildings in downtown Denison, just over one year ago. Seeing a similar blaze happening is Sherman would be "our worst nightmare," he said.

" Seeing our neighbors in downtown Denison lost their buildings, this is extremely scary. You can lose more than one building very quickly and it is more than just the building loss, but also the possible life loss."

Vanderveer said he was looking to add sprinklers and fire suppression to his building, but the building is too far from the water main to make the project feasibile.

Fire crews in Sherman work to put out a fire in the former central appraisal district office in downtown Sherman Monday morning.