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Cross Plains Public Library (TX)

Ring of Fire

Photo by Frances Thornton

Ring of Fire
By:  Arlene Stephenson

Flashback: December 27, 2005: the devastating firestorms wreak unbelievable havoc in Cross Plains. Two people perished, one church and 116 homes totally destroyed. Amazing resilience proves to be the best way to describe how we, as a people, responded to the massive needs of our own.

Fast Forward:
early February, 2006: the Oral History class at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and their instructor, "Tumbleweed" Smith, arrive in Cross Plains to begin their semester long class project - to record the story of the fire via interviews with many, many people - all with a different story to tell.

Fast Forward:
mid-June, 2006: the fire stories on CDs arrive at our Library - a gift from the Oral History students to our Oral History archives.

Fast forward:
Homecoming, September 23, 2006: the CDs are available for the first public "listening." As word spreads through the streets, many people stop by to re-live the fire through either their own voice or through the voice of friends and neighbors. It proves to be an emotional time as folks are taken back to that day and to the miracles that brought them safely through the horror.

The "Ring of Fire" compilation CD and the individual interviews are all available for patrons to listen to in the library at any time.

Click here - for a link to the website that displays the library's collection of firestorm photos and news articles.