Community members gathered in Panaca at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gymnasium on July 15.

Community members gathered in Panaca at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gymnasium on July 15.

“Our people realize this was an isolated incident and will be able to move forward and feel safe,” said Lincoln County Commissioner Paul Mathews who represents the Panaca district. He shared his thoughts after assessing the situation following last week’s destructive bombing of a local home in Panaca.

“It will be a mixed reaction of the people for a little bit,” he said. “But most feel safe.” At the same time, Mathews said he has heard that some of the younger children have not wanted to be separated from the parents and don’t want to sleep in bedrooms by themselves. However, he thought in a few days most of that will pass, “and I think everyone will come together pretty good. The community is strong and supportive of each other. There has been a lot of volunteerism in helping people get their houses cleaned up, boarding up the windows, picking up the pieces.”

Several homes nearest the blast suffered considerable damage. Fragments of metal and other debris were scattered around the explosion site and even lodged into the sides of homes. Shrapnel was found up to a mile away. One resident said a piece of automobile had fallen through their roof and landed in their living room.

Panaca district County Commissioner-elect Nathan Katschke, who is also bishop of the LDS Panaca Second Ward, echoed the thoughts of a strong community. “As a local church leader, myself and others have really focused on the miracles we have seen happen, the miraculous events that happened that protected people.”

He said the Panaca First Ward has really rallied around the Cluff family. “A furnished home in town was provided for them to stay in temporarily. Right now we are kind of waiting as far as rebuilding and to see what we can do while the insurance adjusters are doing their thing, so there hasn’t been a whole lot that way.”

Mathews said a lot of homeowners’ insurance will pay for the damages, depending on how the policies are written and what coverage there is.

The Red Cross was helpful in provided places for about 30 people who had to evacuate from their homes while possible damage was assessed.

Katschke said it is not a surprise to him the way the community has stepped up following the bombing. “We are a Panaca family. This is just a testament to that. We really want to take care of each other. I’ve always seen the community come together and show love and support for each other. Makes me glad to be in Panaca. I feel safe here for myself, my kids and my family. If anything were to happen to us, I feel this community is going to step up to help.”

Mathews said he was pleased to have Gov. Brian Sandoval come to town last Friday and give encouragement to the people. “He spent a lot of time with the Cluff family. He was very open to the first responders, the fire department, with community leaders, including us commissioners and seeking to figure out what he needed to do to help us recover and move past. He spent a lot of time reviewing the actions of his agencies, state and federal, how the task force came together. Very respectful of local authority and wanting to give what assistance they could.”

Sheriff Kerry Lee, who is also the Panaca fire chief, said if anyone should still come across some of the debris that doesn’t appear from the vehicle that was blown up, do not touch it but contact the sheriff’s department immediately at (775) 962-8080.

“We are no longer looking for debris that was from the vehicle, but rather real thick steel, probably up to three-quarters of an inch that was part of the bomb.”

Cluff Family Statement

More than anything, I want to give a thanks to the community and the surrounding communities, first responders, local law enforcement and other agencies that came to our community in this crisis.
I also want to thank God for watching over my family and watching over this community.
A special thanks to those who have reached out to my family. We’re just grateful to still have each other and to be alive.
— Joshua Cluff