Fresno art community forced to shut down in wake of deadly Ghost Ship Fire

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Just days after the Ghost Ship Fire, firefighters arrived at Fresno's Arthouse. The owners say they received a list of citations list three pages long. (KFSN)

Since Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship Fire, fire departments across the country are cracking down on illegal warehouses. In Fresno, tips led firefighters to inspect and shut down a local gallery.

Along H Street in Downtown Fresno sat a warehouse full of dreams. Arthouse is a creative space full of promise for starving artists, but

that will come to an end this month. The artist commune will shut its doors for good.

"Yeah it's very tough," Chris Geigle said. "It's like our baby."

Owners Geigle and Adam Mena say they didn't see this day coming even after the fire at Oakland's Ghost Ship warehouse killed 36 people.
But the tragedy dominated national headlines and soon tips started flooding ii to the Fresno Fire Department.

"When you are an artist, you are just using a paintbrush and some paint," Geigle said. "How dangerous can that be, really? I felt like we were very responsible."

But fire inspectors did not agree. Just days after the Ghost Ship Fire, firefighters arrived at the warehouse. Chris and Adam say they received a list of citations list three pages long.

"Our warehouse, they said, was a storage warehouse, Mena explained. "It can't have more than 50 people, and can't be open to the public."

Arthouse focused on giving young artists more exposure. To do that, the gallery had monthly public showings. And those gatherings violated zoning requirements.

"Now it all has to go," Mena said. "And we put so much time, work and money into this place."

Chris and Adam believe artists helped revitalize Downtown Fresno. And as big developers and investors come in, they're worried these warehouses will be the first to go.

"I just wish cities and art councils would like invest in these creative people, these creative minds," Mena said.

A GoFundMe account account was set up by the artists.

Related Topics:
newsghost ship firefresnoFresno - Downtown
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