EDITOR’S NOTE: The video attached to this article has been edited to remove unnamed individuals.
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld has accused the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the county’s Board of Supervisors of hiding the Reedley lab from residents both in the city and county.
He said they ‘failed’ the people they represent, and even compared the recent news to an incident where foster children in county care were captured sleeping on floors, and on tables, in 2021.
“This is similar to the crisis when foster children were found to be sleeping on floors in offices. They only addressed it when they were forced because it became public through the media. This is disgraceful,” said Bredefeld.
Bredefeld, who is a candidate for a Fresno County Board of Supervisors seat in the upcoming election, attacked the county at a press conference held at Fresno City Hall.
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig in an interview with us called Bredefeld out and said this key information has been public for months.
“I’m hard-pressed to really go and at, today, to go and to, to put fear in people’s minds. There is, in regards to this particular laboratory, I am very confident in the work our (Fresno) County Department of Public Health has done,” said Magsig.
He handed closure documents, the first of which was dated April 21.
“If you to the Fresno County website you can find it right there,” he said.
He also says the City of Reedley asked for their help after they initially discovered the illegal operation in December of 2022.
Magsig says they didn’t alert the public then because they needed to engage with state and federal agencies.
“We needed to engage with the CDC, the FDA, and state and federal agencies. We brought them in, so they had their own investigations they needed to do. They didn’t have major concerns, per se, about this sight, so they turned it over to the county. That’s when the county began to issue its notices so we could get the site cleaned up.”
Magsig says tests determined the area around the lab was safe; now they are working with Reedley to clear the space.
“We identified that everything was contained right there on site. So there was no need to evacuate anyone that might live nearby,” he said.
But there’s more to the timeline than that.
In 2019, Magsig said the lab, then called Universal Meditech, opened in the City of Fresno before a fire in August of 2020 at their facility near North Avenue and Orange Avenue forced them to close.
The City of Fresno asked Fresno County to check out the safety of the operation last year.
It’s not clear why that request was made.
“They moved that operation out to Reedley. That was all done improperly. But in October of 2022, Code enforcement for the city of Fresno asked the (Fresno) County Department of Public Health to come out and assist them at that particular lab site in Fresno. Which, we did,” said Magsig.
To view the closure order documents, you can click here.