Structural engineers examined the walls and second floor of the courthouse that remained shortly after the fire. Their analysis revealed that the century-old bones were structurally sound to be used in the reconstruction. From there, demolition crews cleared the debris and transported the hazardous materials. CPM Texas, which oversaw the restoration of the Texas Capitol in the 1990s, was hired to manage the reconstruction project.
“We expect construction to be complete by March 2023,” says Bearden, who works with county staff in a nearby annex. “It’s really hard to understand why this happened at our courthouse.”
What happened was that a suspected arsonist allegedly set fire to a family member’s home first that night. Then he allegedly stormed into the courthouse through the north doors, and on the second floor, he is believed to have poured gasoline into the courtroom and the offices of the district judge and constable adult probation. Mason’s Nicholas Miller was caught the following day after a chase south of Waco. The felony charges against him include two for arson.
Meanwhile, the residents of Mason have held fundraisers to help the family rebuild their burnt-out home.
“We take care of each other here at Mason,” Martin says. “They are a good family and it’s not their fault. It still hurts that we lost our courthouse. She was the heart of our city. But really, it’s the people who are the real heart. We will rebuild and move forward.