Two Slaton community staples were destroyed in a fire over the weekend. The Fire Marshal's Office was out there investigating the cause Monday.
For 18 years, the doors to the Family Medical Clinic welcomed patients who relied on Doctor Al Bendeck.
"I think it was 4:30 in the morning, I got up, got dressed and drove out to Slaton to watch my clinic burn to the ground," Bendeck said.
While there is not much left, disaster is not stopping him from serving others.
"I have patients to take care of, I have patients who rely on us, I have a staff who relies on me," Bendeck said.
Just two days later, with help from the Slaton Development Corporation, there is now a temporary clinic set up down the road.
"Everything burns in fire anyway," Bendeck said. "You can't take it with you, so you've got to look ahead."
Right next to the clinic is the Slaton Bakery. Owners believe if it wasn't for all the first responders, it could have easily burned down too.
"I don't think our whole blocked would have been saved without all those volunteers coming together," Third generation owner Chad Wilson said.
He said it is hard to wrap his head around why his business was spared, but he is thankful for the more than 100 first responders on scene. "We had some guardian angels," Wilson said. "We said they were wearing fire helmets badges and boots."
Commissioner Jason Corley lives down the road and owns two buildings downtown. Like many others, he said he ran out to do what he could."I think when we all kinda realized the bakery might be next, everybody was really jumping on board, trying to save what we have left," Corley said.
While it is hard not to dwell on what is gone, Bendeck rejoices in the fact no one was hurt. "God's with us," Bendeck said. "He protects us and looks after us."
Bendeck already owns another building nearby and is working on converting it into a more permanent clinic.
To donate to the owners of Klemke’s, click here.
To donate to Dr. Al Bendeck and the staff of Slaton Family Medical Clinic, click here.
If you do not want to donate via Go Fund Me, you can mail a check to the First United Methodist Church - Slaton. The address is 305 W Lubbock St, Slaton, TX 79364.
The pastor asks you to put in the memo whether it is for the Klemke family or Dr. Al Bendeck.
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