One year later

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

I’ve written recently about events that stick with people and a community due to its sheer magnitude — an event that affects so much that it becomes something of a frozen moment in time and memory.

I’ve traditionally used this to describe events on a national or global scale, but it can be a much more localized scale as well. For Denison, one of those moments happened one year ago.

It has been one year since downtown Denison burned, and three staples of the streetscape were lost.

My memories of the event are fairly limited, because I didn’t do a lot of reporting on it myself at the time. Despite being the long-time Denison reporter, the fire happened during a brief period when my focus was primarily on Sherman. Instead, other coworkers covered the fire.

I can remember that we had not one but two reporters writing on the blaze as both the crime and emergency reporter and the Denison reporter were covering several aspects.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve conducted many interviews for a series of stories related to the one year anniversary of the event. I spoke to property owners who lost businesses in the blaze, city officials and others who were involved in the response.

Despite the multitude of perspectives, there were commonalities between all of the interviews: No one saw it coming, nor could they have.

An event like that is unpredictable. However, it is that shock and surprise, along with a feeling of powerlessness, that makes the memories all the sharper.

Happy birthday to Aujaha Blair and James Groves of Sherman; Alicia Anderson of Killen; and Otis Belt of Hephzibah, Georgia.