Several city and civic events were postponed following the fire at Mount Carmel Monday.
The Waco City Council postponed a retreat and the chamber of commerce’s executive committee called off its annual membership banquet.
“They were concerned about the sensitivity of the situation. I think we all felt that it would be inappropriate to make honors and celebrate the great year that we’ve had, in light of what’s happened,” said chamber president Jack Stewart. “We didn’t feel the mood would be that of celebration.”
Chamber officials were saddened that the 51-day standoff didn’t end differently, he said.
“We’re all very disappointed. At this point, we’re just taking things one step at a time. We’ve not yet set another date for the banquet.”
A City Council retreat that started Sunday and was to continue Monday night was postponed as well.
Mayor Bob Sheehy said the timing was all wrong due to the unfortunate events at Mount Carmel.
“The city manager and city staff have been tied up. I’ve been tied up. In fact, we’re still tied up,” Sheehy said Monday afternoon.
“It just doesn’t seem like the time to be talking about goals and the future when something like this has happened.”
Sheehy said a lot of cities have suffered sad events like Monday’s tragedy at Mount Carmel and have survived.
“Waco has the best and most friendliest people I know. We were that way before this happened, we’re that way now and we’ll continue to be.”
Baylor University’s Center of Community Research & Development canceled a press conference for today that would have divulged the results of a public opinion poll concerning the standoff.
The center conducted a poll concerning how Waco residents view the Mount Carmel situation, said Margaret Pauling, office manager of university communications.
“They have the results and will share them with the media, but I don’t know when,” Pauling said.
“I would guess in a few days. The professors in charge just thought that tomorrow would be too soon,” she said Monday afternoon.
Elizabeth Taylor, director of the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, said all of the conventions planned for the week are still scheduled.
“We do have quite a few meetings coming in, but as of today, we’ve had no cancellations,” Taylor said. “There should be no problems with them coming in.”
At about 6 p.m. Monday, Waco Hilton Manager Gordon Rostvold said he had a line of people standing at the hotel’s counter for rooms.
He added though, that he didn’t anticipate any problems.
“We’re taking people based on who has a reservation,” Rostvold said. “We’ll be fine as long as people honor the checkout dates.”
Many of the area’s hotels, like the Holiday Inn and Days Inn Hotel, were completely filled — housing a number of media representatives and federal agents, hotel officials said.
Individuals who have made advance reservations will not have to worry about having a room, several hotel officials said.