Historic Woodmen Circle Home catches fire

Published: Sep. 4, 2018 at 5:03 PM CDT
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The historic Woodmen Circle Home caught fire Monday night for the fourth time in about three decades.

The nearly century old building off Highway 56 and FM 1417 caught fire and the dangerous structure made it more difficult for firefighters to put out the flames.

"It was a beautiful, beautiful place. I can see the beauty through all the fires."

For four years, Linda Robertson worked as a nurse in Sherman's historic Woodmen Circle Home: a mansion for widows and orphans of Woodmen Circle insurance members.

"It could've been anywhere in the United States, but they liked Sherman," Robertson said. "It was just by chance they came here."

It was opened in 1930 and closed four decades later. Now, it's a target of break-ins, vandalism, and flames.

"There's been four fires," Robertson said.

On Monday at around 9 p.m., Sherman firefighters were dispatched to the empty home. A fire started in the first floor where the library used to be.

"With this, when there's no electricity or gas, you're gonna revert to human factor or natural factor."

Sherman fire marshal Danny Fuller says it could have been lightning, but it's more likely someone started it. The official cause is still under investigation.

It took them about two hours to put out due to dangerous conditions inside.

"It was a working fire at the time," Fuller said. "Flames were showing. It looked like it could continue. Crews did a good job of getting the flames knocked down."

Sherman police said they've had about 15 calls over the past year of people trespassing, typically teenagers and homeless people.

"This place should have never ever got in this shape," Robertson said. "It was a beautiful place."

Nobody was hurt in the fire and there wasn't any serious damage.

If someone is found to have started it, they could face criminal charges.