Fire Damages Republic of Texas Headquarters

9-1-05 - A fire has caused major damage to the south wing of the Republic of Texas headquarters.

Five Republic of Texas members were in the building at the time and one man suffered severe cuts to his arms as he tried to escape, said Bill Hall, Overton Volunteer Fire Department chief.

The fire broke out Wednesday morning in a building the group calls the national capital. Officials have not yet determined a cause or estimate of damages.

Overton Police Chief Ed Williams said his officers have seized some weapons and ammunition in the building until the investigation was complete.

"This is not just a fire scene, it is also a crime scene, and it will be secured until the investigation is complete," he said.

Daniel Miller, the group's president, said four shotguns were family heirlooms, for display purposes only. But he did not respond to questions about three duffel bags of ammunition in the building.

Members of the Republic of Texas believe the state was illegally annexed in 1845 by the U.S. government. So the Republic formed in 1995 as a political movement to secure the independence of Texas.

The group set up its capital in an old hospital in Overton.