The long road ahead

Published 11:11 am Friday, January 16, 2009

It was a devastating site in Austin Thursday as a major fire broke out in a clothing business next to the Mi Tierra restaurant and grocery store on Main Street.

The business was all but leveled and smoke covered Austin for the majority of the afternoon and on into the evening.

Fire officials and law enforcement arrived on scene and quickly blocked off the area, forcing motorists to stay clear of the location.

Email newsletter signup

And the town where traffic is almost non-existent quickly became rush hour.

It was a sad day for Austin as the blaze has left a huge hole in our important Main Street section.

The downtown is a crucial part of any community because it’s where we shop, where we drive through to get to work or to church, and it’s where our visitors come when they visit.

The rebuilding process will take a long time, and this incident will be on the minds of Austin residents for years and perhaps decades.

What’s important is that we realize putting our downtown back is going to take a community-wide effort, a massive unselfish undertaking to make sure we can do whatever we can to get to this section of Main Street rebuilt quickly.

And it’s also important we continue to support the neighboring businesses in the meantime.

As yesterday’s fire broke out, the community joined together to help. Local firefighters and law enforcement braved frigid temperatures to fight the blaze and secure downtown.

Business owners opened their doors for fire personnel to take shelter when it was needed, and volunteers from the Salvation Army provided sandwiches, chili, coffee and water to those right in the middle of it.

As the rebuilding process begins, this is the kind of effort we need to continue, and if we do that, downtown Austin will be even better than it was.