The sky filled with black smoke as flames demolished a Panaca home on Tuesday afternoon.
This is the first time a significant fire has struck the small community since the bombing in 2016. There was nobody in the home, and no casualties, but the building was completely hollowed out by the blaze.
At around 4:30 p.m. sirens filled the air as a plume of black smoke billowed from the home of a long-time Panaca resident. The Panaca Fire Department was on the scene within minutes.
According to members of community associated with the event, the fire was caused by a battery charger that had produced sparks, which combined with winds had made their way to a pile of dry pallets, igniting the wood immediately. Witnesses were shocked to see the inferno in a part of town locals call the “housing,” due to the high concentration of homes in the area. Also startling, the sound of gunfire split the air as the resident’s stored ammunition was activated by the flames. The sound could be heard from across town. Vehicles on the property were also damaged.
Yet, despite it all, the damage was limited to property and no one was seriously injured. Neighbors’ homes were not damaged. During the aftermath of the bombing in 2016, many locals claimed that the town was protected by the hand of God himself, and that claim has only been strengthened by the events of Tuesday afternoon, according to some Panaca residents. The area had a dry winter and the winds were ideal for spreading fires, yet the entire event was contained within that single property.
Whether it was divine intervention that stopped the flames from going any further, careful planning and commendable execution on the part of Panaca’s emergency services, or a combination of the two, these events serve as a reminder that disasters like this can happen at any time, and that the residents of our community should always be vigilant. But, alternatively, the quick response of Lincoln County’s finest is a testimony to how the members of our small communities are willing to serve one another, even risking life and limb to protect that which we hold dear.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/reed-family-emergency-fund.