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'Fun, family-friendly environment': Witnesses of Texas Skateland fire reflect on memories

Texas Skateland
Posted at 1:54 PM, Jul 05, 2024

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KXXV) — "Ugh, it's just you know, sort of takes our breath away not knowing the future and what is going on but the family is fine, everybody made it safe — we watched it yesterday,” said Texas Skateland owner, Shirley Morkon.

Dozens of Central Texas neighbors took to Facebook to share their memories of Texas Skateland in Harker Heights after it went up in flames on Thursday.

"Don and Shirley made it a home growing up with Steve I remember Natalie going under the limbo, it was just so fun," said witness, Michelle Atkins.

Neighbors describe Texas Skateland as a fun, family-friendly environment to bring their kids and let loose.

"To have birthday parties, just to be with family and have a good environment," Atkins said.

The building has been standing for more than 33 years — the owner says she and her husband met at a skating rink.

She taught classes in the building, so it was built from love.

"The owner lived in Las Vegas, he asked if we wanted to buy it and so in 1981, I took the plunge and bought it and we've been going strong ever since," Shirley said.

Everything was a total loss — the family says they plan to rebuild.

Steve Morken who lives in an apartment at the back of the building, says he heard noises coming from upfront.

"When I ran I front I saw fire up in the building right here, it started up here and then it started spreading so I grabbed the fire extinguisher and tried to put the fire out as fast as I could," said Steve Morken, Manager and Owner, Texas Skateland

But the fire went up in the roof and kept spreading.

"That was all new skates, the bright orange burnt wheel in there — we had just replaced all of that," Morken said.

Morken says its frustrating, but he found hope in finding his state championship class ring.

"It brings back memories, because that is the same week they had the shooting in Luby's and I was there with my sister the day before — we were supposed to go back the next day so I dodged my life being lost twice," Morken said.

The family knows how much this skating rink is a staple in the Harker Heights community, and they shared so many memories of the past.

They are just asking for prayers, some time, and privacy at this moment to get everything back together. Click here to see any updates for Texas Skateland.