Downtown Haskell Goes Up In Flames

Friday, May 8th 2009, 7:33 am
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

HASKELL, OK -- A Muskogee County community program is looking for a new home after its building was destroyed by fire.

The blaze took out two other buildings in downtown Haskell. Investigators are still looking for the cause.

Home video shows flames bursting from the corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue.

Three buildings in downtown Haskell were destroyed -- a video store, where investigators believed the fire started about 9:30 p.m.; a vacant building only used as storage; and Ezra House, where Doyle and Lois Reed poured the hearts into for the past eight years.           

"We're a family, and this is where our family met, the Ezra House family," Lois Reed said. "So they are scattered and wandering around the streets."

Ezra House provided weekly meals for the towns less fortunate. The Reeds even handed out presents during the holidays and hosted weddings and baby showers.

Doyle Reed said watching the building burn was hard on everyone.

"There was a lot of people that were here last night that was just crying," he said. "We've been here reaching out to them with love and caring about them, and it's just really sad."

The fire was hard for all of Haskell, with residents snapping pictures, unsure what will happen to downtown.

"Seeing these buildings go up in smoke is watching your memories go up in smoke," resident Judy Simmons said. "We're trying to bring businesses back to Haskell. We want Haskell to grow, and now this just swats us down.

It's just as unsettled for the Reeds, who are worried about the families they help until they're able to find a new place. Regardless, they say, their mission will continue.

"Ezra House is in the hearts of the people just like Jesus is in our hearts," Lois Reed said. "It's not the building. We'll come back."

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All three buildings were empty, and no one was hurt.

If you'd like to help the Reeds, donations can be made to:

Ezra House Family Life Center

c/o Citizens Security Bank

202 N. Broadway

Haskell, OK 74436