“With heavy hearts we report a significant loss of life in our sister city, Hartley.
On Monday, July 17th, the day started quietly and without any indication of the tragedy to come. In the hours just before sunset some chain of events caused an explosion.
Miles Cameron, from the Hartley Sheriff’s Office, returned to the town the day after the tragedy to begin the investigation. Cameron had been out of town following the unrelated death of his nephew, Parker. Cameron had this to say to the Daily Dimas: “It’s a miracle it didn’t happen sooner. That smell had been building, I guess that gas had been building for so long, for months. My God, why didn’t anyone say anything?”
Cameron was careful to note that the investigation was ongoing, but seemed confident that the cause of the explosion was a buildup of natural gas in the area sparked by the town’s aging wiring. Hartley had been experiencing power failures since the onset of summer – according to Cameron, another symptom of its outdated infrastructure.
“But I’ll tell ya this,” Cameron marveled, “those old geezers who put this place together did one thing real right: Those air raid sirens, (expletive) relics. If those hadn’ta gone off this place would be a total loss. But ’cuz they did most the town got outta here. A lotta kids are gonna get to grow up still.”
Residents displaced by the loss of Hartley are currently being welcomed by hospitality businesses in nearby Dalhart. Owners of the Days Inn, Super 8, La Quinta, and Econo Lodge released a joint statement: “Any person or family displaced by the tragedy in Hartley is welcome to book with us for a deeply discounted rate. No pets.”
In the days and weeks to come we will be recognizing those lost, and remembering about them the characteristics which will be missed most."
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