A few minutes later the phone rang and, like for many other editors and reporters throughout the land, the news was received about the space shuttle Columbia's explosion, apparently over Dallas.
A busy day would await any journalist when something tragic like this happens, but for it to be over Texas upped the local coverage ante.
It wasn't until I arrived at work that I learned that shuttle parts large and small had descended on the ragged edge of our northern coverage area. An electric sign on U.S. Highway 69 warned motorists to watch for falling shuttle debris.
When a story like this breaks, it's all hands on deck in the media.
What ensued was coverage of debris and the people looking for it. There was little, if any, hope that an astronaut survived.
The explosion marked a tragic bookend to the space shuttle Challenger disaster 17 years and four days earlier.
Curious as to what he was doing, I was close behind. We flipped on a television just as the video of the horrific explosion was played for the first time.
We didn't do much in the way of our coverage, but I do remember being irate that our Page 1A headline the next day was so tiny. I pitched a fit to the editor.
Memories are fuzzy about the days of Columbia explosion coverage. Reporters and photographers were 100 miles away and combing for stories in places such as Hemphill, San Augustine and Nacogdoches.
We had five photographers and most likely every news reporter out on the story. They got sent here and there as reports of discovered debris surfaced and news conferences were called.
Staffers found Internet connections to transmit information and photos for updating the website.
The most compelling photo turned out to be a space boot and the 5-year-old boy who found it, according to retired photo editor Pete Churton, a dear friend of mine who provided some of the information for this column.
That Saturday marked the start of a 10-day team effort that wound down with coverage of private and public memorials.
Brian Pearson is managing editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph and came to the Morning Telegraph in December 2008.