TCRP director Jim Harrington (pictured) says the fire will have “minimal impact” on the nonprofit legal aid group’s work.
“We save all our files. We back them up offsite every night. Nothing was lost that way,” he explains. He says he has rented office space with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Austin for his 12 staffers, about half of whom are lawyers.
Investigators determined that the single-alarm fire started from overheated electrical equipment in a computer-server closet, Tanzola says. The emergency call came in at 12:48 a.m. on Oct. 30, and fire crews responded in four minutes. The fire was out by 1 a.m.
“It doesn’t look like it was too large,” says Tanzola. “It only took about eight minutes for them to put it out.”
Harrington says the fire “gutted” an office where a grant-development staffer and accountant worked. The rest of the building interior is “coated with black, sticky soot,” he says.
“It’s eerie: When you go in, it’s just black everywhere. In my office, I look at my desk and papers, and everything is black—everywhere,” says Harrington.
Harrington says he’s meeting with the TCRP’s insurance provider today, and he doesn’t know yet how long it will take to rebuild the office.
“You’re never going to recover totally your losses from insurance. So we will be doing fundraising,” he says.
“We’ve got a lot of support: a lot of people calling, sending money, offering to help clean,” says Harrington. “We will roll with the punches, as we always do, and just keep fighting for justice.”