The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, when a SUV pulled out in front of an 18-wheeler, driven by 83-year-old W.C. Brooks of Athens, Department of Public Safety trooper Jason Matura said at the scene Brooks struck the SUV, and his truck went up a hill and into the front office of the Canton City Hall Annex, 24980 Texas Highway 64. The impact sparked a fire, and Brooks died in the blaze, but no office workers were injured. The driver of the SUV was treated and released at the scene.
City Secretary Julie Seymore said the building is a total loss, but the city is working to recover paper files in metal filing cabinets and recover data from its server.
“Our records are salvageable, but that is going to take us a while to clean it and recover it,” she said. “A lot of that we are going to be able to salvage.”
In the meantime, the city’s only phone number is 903-567-6778. The after-hours water utility emergency line will remain the same at 903- 567-4991.
Residents still can pay their water bills until Monday at the city’s former city hall location, 290 Tyler St.
Ms. Seymore said the city is moving all offices and city operations to the building behind the former Municipal Complex, and after Monday, water bills can be paid at the location.
The building in front is anticipated to be demolished.
“Everyone in the city office complex, we will conduct city operations out of here (the location on highway 64) starting Monday,” Ms. Seymore said. “We should have our computer systems up and running by then.
We are on manual system until then.”