Bakersfield abandoned building fires on the rise

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Boarded up, then burning down. Another abandoned Bakersfield building goes up in flames. City fire was called to the El Fogon restaurant on East Brundage Lane early this morning.

“We had three engines and two trucks respond and quickly put the fire out,” said Capt. Michael Taylor of the Bakersfield Fire Dept.

Rory Key has worked across the street for years.

“I’ve been looking at that building for the last three years since it’s been abandoned, and it’s an ugly eyesight,” said Rory Key, Owner of Key Barber Shop. “People have been living there since it’s been abandoned.”

He says at least seven people lived in the building, before police kicked them out earlier this week.

“Maybe somebody got mad that burned the building up who was living there,” said Key.

City fire says there have been 327 structure fires in Bakersfield so far this year. At this time last year, there were just 250.

“What’s behind this increase in structure fires that we’ve seen over the past year?” asked 17’s Moses Small.

“It could be a combination of factors,” said Capt. Taylor. “We don’t have that data available just yet.”

City fire says one in three structure fires in Bakersfield happen in abandoned buildings. This comes as the city says it doesn’t keep track of the number of abandoned buildings in town, or how many businesses closed over the past year.

“I hope somebody buys the building, we could use something positive in this area,” said Key. “Something needs to be done about this.”

The Bakersfield Fire Dept. says it’s still investigating this fire. City officials declined to give an interview for this story.

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