Fresno County's new morgue is well underway

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News visited construction site recently to find the job well underway just south of Fresno at Jefferson and Chestnut.

Dr. Michael Chambliss said, "It's like heaven if you can say heaven as far as a morgue is concerned."

Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Michael Chambliss and Fresno County Coroner Dr. David Hadden are looking forward to leaving this out of date autopsy room. Dr. Michael Chambliss said, "Sometimes you come in and the floor needs to be patched again, the sink needs to be worked on again so it ends up delaying your ability to get to start doing your cases for the day."

The circa 1948 building has no air conditioning. It has space for only thirty five bodies.

Dr. David Hadden said, "We exceeded that ability in some of the heat waves we had awhile a go."

Three decades in this aging building will come to an end this fall. Construction is well underway on a brand new coroner's office a few miles south of here.

The simple design of this seven and a half million dollar project underway will be packed with state of the art equipment.

Dr. David Hadden said, "We had the ability to start from scratch and build what will be the idealized facility."

A simple design on one floor will include 24hour access, a ct-scanner, computerized records, finger prints and photographs and offer changing and shower facilities for staff.

Fresno County's project manager says the numerous construction companies are on target to fiinsh the job this fall. "We've got a good set of contractors and sub-contractors, and consultants all working together to give Dr. Hadden the building that he's expecting," said Jim Anderson.

Dr. Hadden says the investment will serve the county for decades to come and offer respect for the deceased and their families.

When the new morgue opens, the coroner's staff will have offices in the nearby Fresno County office building where public business will occur.

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