MIDLAND - When blazes threatened dozens of homes in the Tall City, Midland officials opened up The Horseshoe Arena as a place of refuge for evacuees.
"I got an Emergency Activation Call from the County Emergency Management Director, also known as the County Fire Marshal, Dale Little," Midland County Judge Mike Bradford, said. "He asked that we activate a shelter to accommodate an unknown number of people for an unknown duration."
For those that left their homes and went there, they said it was a welcome relief from the threat of the fire.
"One of the sheriff's officers advised us that we need to evacuate," evacuee Marilyn Harmon, said.
When the fire and smoke broke out near Marilyn's home, her first thought was to get her and the daycare she owns to a safe place.
"The first thing we thought of, I thought of, was just getting the kids out safe, and getting them out of that area," Harmon said.
The Horseshoe held evacuees in their education building.
There they served meals donated by Little Caesar's, Domino's, and other businesses, as well as any other service evacuees would need.
"We've been able to provide everyone with food and water, bathrooms, showers if they need it, so we've been able to provide all the comforts of home," Horseshoe Food and Beverage Supervisor, Irma Nichols, said.
There was even storage space given for people's animals.
At one point, they were housing 140 West Texans.
They were prepared to convert to an overnight shelter, but just before 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night, when the evacuation order was lifted, they closed down and people returned to their homes.
Still it was exactly what Midland evacuees needed.
"You see this kind of stuff on T.V. and you never, ever, expect this to happen in Midland," Harmon said.