Investigating the downtown Bonham fire

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

BONHAM, Tex. -- It's been a week since a fire destroyed part of downtown Bonham, and investigators still don't know the cause. There's a chance the answers may take a while to come out.

One week later, the northwest corner of the downtown Bonham Square still lies in ruins.

"We knew this was a big one, and we put everyone out there when we got the call on Thursday morning."

Allen Wilson and his company Surpro are just one of many clean-up crews working on those buildings fortunate enough to be still standing.

"We’re cleaning up the walls and everything and once we do all that we will then go in and remodel."

Two were a total loss, and the fire that claimed them brought back memories for Bonham Fire Chief Bill Palya, who went through the same type of fire in Sherman in the late eighties.

"It’s been on my mind since I got here so I knew what we had to do and we had talked about it happening so they did a good job for the stop."

Now officials need to determine a cause. They believe the fire began on the northwest corner of buildings and determined the site was not safe enough to conduct a full investigation.

Caylor says the west wall of the building that was destroyed last week is still unstable and could topple down at any minute, but they continue to collect evidence when conditions are favorable to determine a cause.

"With the wall being as unstable as it is, it’s just too much to go digging in there and moving stuff around so we really don’t know."

Officials say the more damage happens to the site, the more it could possibly destroy evidence vital to determining a cause.

They hope the structure holds so they can move on to try and restore downtown Bonham.

"A lot of people hope to fit the style of our downtown."

Crews are expected to start cleaning up the debris Friday morning.

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