Going back through the papers of the past year is always a reminder of how fast the time goes by.Posted Jan 3, 2012
By JAMIE SPAINHOWER
Adams County Record Editor
Going back through the papers of the past year is always a reminder of how fast the time goes by. Trying to decide what the “top” stories of the year are isn’t as easy as it sounds.
So this year’s top stories are ones that affected the community as a whole – from the Bucyrus Fire to new faces in new places and business milestones – the things that keep out county prosperous and a good place to live and raise our families.
It was a year of ups and downs for Adams County. But through the many events that unfolded over the past 12 months, communities pulled together to get through tough times and help neighbors without regard to boundary lines of city or county.
In a town with a population of less than many apartment buildings, (27 at the last census), Bucyrus saw a side of Mother Nature that causes everyone and every living thing to get out of the way.
After a day of 60 mph winds and no moisture for some time, many who had been watching the skies saw their worst fear come to pass – fire.
By evening the town was evacuated and a 10-mile wide wall of fire came through, taking four homes and the only business in town, along with several outbuildings. The church was left standing and untouched.
Highway 12 was closed due to lack of visibility and safety of the people fighting the fire. Emergency responders and firefighters came from as far away as Bison, S.D. and the Forest Service, which sent trucks and stayed throughout, had more on standby in Bismarck. Reeder, Bowman, Hettinger and Lodgepole were also on hand. Many think the turning point came with the farmers – who didn’t hesitate but got the drills out and started making firebreaks.
One tractor was found still burning Thursday morning in a ditch.
“It was dangerous out there for everyone,” said Adams County Commissioner Chuck Christman. “The fire can shift and trap you before you know what’s happening.”
Hettinger was put on alert for possible evacuation., but the fire was deemed “contained” five miles from town.
When the smoke had cleared, four houses were lost, but everyone was alive and uninjured. Crops were in and no livestock was lost.
The fundraisers began.
A disaster fund was set up at the Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union. The Hettinger Bowling Alley held a dinner and donations came from around the state.
Churches having their annual fall suppers donated a portion or all of their proceeds. The Scranton FFA started with collecting change, totaling more than $1,000 – then went a step further, hosting a pancake supper and auction raising $10,500 in one day.
People offered everything from clothing to housing and life is finally getting back to normal, as the homeowners are finding permanent housing.