BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Downtown stores continue to expand after a fire last December that damaged several buildings, including a local museum. Now, months later, the cleanup continues for the Buena Vista History Museum and the process has been far from easy.
Just a reminder that Pallets for Days and Tina Marie’s Cafe were destroyed by the December fire. The neighboring shops were also badly damaged, but firefighters at the Buena Vista Museum were able to save the building, but in the process the museum ended up with a lot of water damage inside. At the time, they thought there was about two months of repairs to be done, but now, three months later, they find that their job is far from over.
“When I saw the other buildings burning, which only puzzled my head, I could only think of all the things that are irreplaceable and that we have in the museum.”
Koral Hancherick speaks about the thousands of artifacts in the Buena Vista Museum.
“They are not interchangeable because many of them are unique and millions of years old,” said Hancherick.
Firefighters were able to keep the line at the museum, however, but rescuing these artifacts came at a cost after a fire next door, as Hancherick showed us in December.
At the time, Hancherick thought they had two months to repair damage, but within the past three weeks they had run into more problems.
“We thought we were in good shape and we let the painter come out to start this work and as he climbed the top walls we noticed something was peeling off.”
Hancherick said when they tore back that vinyl wallpaper, water flowed out from below.
“Everything had to be tested for asbestos and lead, and we were good with asbestos, but the paint contains lead.”
This means that their process will be delayed.
“We can’t grind, rework, or strip something like that until a mitigation team comes in.”
Once that’s done, they’ll be able to work on the final strokes with a goal of reopening by mid-April, but then Hancherick says their other edition has sufficient funds to stay afloat, after they closed all year due to the pandemic.
“We saved a bit, we pretty much wiped that out. It was about reducing something. It’s like we can turn off the lights and not use the water as often as possible. We tried to save where we could. “
While most of the costs of repairs are covered by insurance, Hancherick said there were some restrictions on coverage, and thanks to the generosity of the public, they were able to help cover the excess.
If you would like to participate in the museum reopening its doors, visit the website here.