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Mexia: Arson suspected in fire that heavily damaged library

The fire at the Gibbs Memorial Library damaged the interior of the library's east end. City official said a review of historical documents could last several weeks. (PHOTO: Gibbs Memorial Facebook)
The fire at the Gibbs Memorial Library damaged the interior of the library's east end. City official said a review of historical documents could last several weeks. (PHOTO: Gibbs Memorial Facebook)(KWTX)
Published: Sep. 28, 2019 at 11:34 AM CDT
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Arson is suspected in a weekend fire that heavily damaged a wing of Gibbs Memorial Library in Mexia based on the findings of an investigation that involves the Texas Rangers, the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Mexia police and fire departments.

“The coordinated, professional investigation yielded significant evidence at the scene of the fire which indicated the fire was deliberately set,” Mexia City Manager Eric Garretty said in a press release Tuesday.

An emergency joint meeting of the Mexia City Council and the library’s board is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to provide updates “on multiple issues pertaining to the fire and the on-going recovery operations,” Garretty said.

The fire was reported at around 4:15 a.m. Saturday by a neighbor who spotted smoke and flames coming from the east end of the building at 350 Rusk St.

Firefighters from Mexia, Wortham and Teague responded.

Flames consumed most of the eastern half of the building, but damaged to the western end was minimal.

Firefighters were able to save some of the documents housed in the library’s historical room, but it will take several weeks to complete a full inventory, the city said in a press release.

Some residents said they’ve used the facility since the early 1950s.

"I lived in the library,” Mexia native Sue Furlow recalled.

“My grandmother lived across the street and I would go every day in the summer of 1952," she said.

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