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City of Bakersfield Building Division works on preventing fires in abandoned buildings

Posted at 10:02 AM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 13:02:31-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Building fires in Kern County are not uncommon. Most recently there were two fires over the weekend.

On a daily basis, the City of Bakersfield Building Division works on boarding up buildings and checking out abandoned buildings. They have on-call staff and do fire reports with the fire department when a building does catch on fire. This determines the next course of action for the Building Commission.

The Building Director for the City of Bakersfield, Phil Burns explains part of the process of securing buildings:

"Generally our role is to keep them secure. If there is an event, a fire, or something we would then go through and make sure the building hasn't now been damaged to a point where it needs to be taken down. What level of public nuisance is it that we may need to take it down. If we can't track down that property owner. It's more pressure to get them to do something with that property. There are a couple of different avenues that we can go down but generally, we are not doing an assessment just to look if it's a fire hazard, if it's secure then it shouldn't be a fire hazard."

Burns and his team work to secure abandoned buildings in Bakersfield for public safety. He said they take down about 10 structures a year because of damage that could be a hazard to the community but not every building that catches on fire is not a hazard.