FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The Kutner Home has stood on L Street in Downtown Fresno for more than 100 years. However, a fire on Sunday afternoon erased that history in a matter of hours.
“There’s just too much significant damage. A lot of times, in these older homes, the fire can get into the wall, travel all the way up to the second story and get into the attic, and then it’s just off to the races,” said Michael Kain, retired fire chief and the current director of emergency services for 1-800-BOARDUP.
Restoration crews worked on the home late into the night, but Kain says it will have to be torn down and reconstructed.
The president of Fresno’s Historical Society Elizabeth Laval says it’s a loss for the city’s history.
“This home was 120 years old, and it had been very lovingly restored. It was being cared for. It can look the same, but it will never feel the same,” she said.
A loss Laval says is magnified by what the home was being used for. It was housing a dozen women recovering from addiction through the Lighthouse Recovery Program.
“It was actually a home that was being restored and used for a good cause,” she said.
Kain says once the insurance details are worked out, the restoration company will rebuild the home to look as similar as possible, with updated safety standards and hopefully a more functional space for the Lighthouse Recovery Program.
“The positive to this negative is: you took an older house and made it a recovery center, and hopefully we can build you a recovery center that looks like a house,” Kain said.
The women from the Lighthouse Recovery Program are being temporarily housed at a local shelter for women. The director says they are searching for a house or lofts to rent in the downtown area. You can donate to their cause through their website.