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Editorial: 'Post' remembers Union Street fire, looks at what's ahead

One year after the Union Street fire, 'The Post' updates stories about its aftermath.

Last November, many of us woke up to the troubling news that the businesses we knew and loved on Union Street were up in flames.

It’s been a year now, and not a lot has changed since that morning. Those establishments have opted to move elsewhere, slowly rebuild or fold altogether. The evidence of the destruction the fire left in its few but agonizing hours of burning still stands on our walks home or nights Uptown.

We’re hopeful this next year proves to be a better one for Union Street and those who once called it home. And we think the block’s current state should not be an ugly reminder of the destruction that happened last year.

Instead, we hope it’ll remind Ohio University students of Athens' and the school’s communal strength in the days and weeks following the fire. We won’t forget that contributions poured in to raise tens of thousands of dollars for affected employees or the strength and positivity of the employees and business owners who woke up to their beloved places of work and personal history reduced to ashes and rubble.

Nor will we forget the images of firefighters from throughout Athens County fighting the blaze and the heaping piles of donated clothes for those who once were residents of the apartments lining the block. We won’t forget the stories we heard or the ones that were only told after memories arose through anguish — ones of meeting first loves at The Union, evidence of bar crawls erased or treasured personal belongings kept in now-tarnished apartments.

That’s why we thought it was important to re-tell and update these stories one year following the aftermath. We haven’t forgotten, and we know there’s still a lot to rebuild on Union Street. The stories in today’s paper and on our website show the resulting pain of Nov. 16, 2014 but also the hope in the Athens’ community that was quickly drawn from the ashes.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Emma Ockerman, Managing Editor Rebekah Barnes and Digital Managing Editor Samuel Howard. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.

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