Kings County Department of Public Health set to partially reopen following fire

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Monday, May 6, 2024
Kings County Department of Public Health set to partially reopen following fire
The agency says limited services will be available, including immunizations, tuberculosis screenings and mobile food facility inspections.

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- An early morning fire last Monday forced the Kings County Department of Public Health to pause operations.

Flames destroyed a detached shed and significantly damaged building three.

It's where the laboratory sits, and the fire department estimates the damage to be between $1.2 and 1.5 million dollars.

It will be months before the department is fully open again.

But now, one week after the fire, they can offer some clinical and non-clinical services, including immunizations and tuberculosis screening.

Dozens of employees have had to be moved to different buildings on site.

"I'm lucky to have staff that's so understanding in the situation, so that helped a lot in getting our clinical services open today," says Czarina Martinez, who is the Nursing Division Manager.

She says this fire has added more work to her staff's daily duties.

By Tuesday, they were dealing with extra calls and messages from the public.

Meanwhile, the investigation into what caused the fire continues.

"Is considered undetermined at this point just because there are a few involvements that have happened and we believe it is the end house but there's no way to determine it at this point in the investigation," explains leading investigator and City of Hanford Fire Marshall, Nikkie Chamberland.

That's because, in the last week, three out of five fires were started by unhoused people, including this empty theater near downtown Hanford.

Fire Chief Daniel Perkins says more homeless people are moving into the city than there are resources to help them.

"Some of that is a little bit frustrating. We're trying to do the best we can with the resources we are given, but again, we are running 2,000% more calls than 1980 with 10% fewer people," says Chief Perkins.

The fire department mentions it is a good time to create your defensible space and secure any empty buildings.

Kings County Department of Public Health does advise people to schedule appointments in advance.

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