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Bret Harte Center Destroyed…Fire Is “Suspicious”

Firefighters plan to spend most of the day at the Bret Harte Center in Murphys. The vintage building has burned to the ground in what Fire Chief Pat Murphy describes as a fire of suspicious origin. It was reported just after 4 this morning. Murphy says there was asbestos in the old building, and people should keep their distance from the smoke.

Crews are also working to keep water and sewer lines in the area from being contaminated. The building has been empty for some time. Neighbors noticed the flames and called crews to the building just off Highway 4. Arriving units found a fully engulfed main building, and took up defensive positions, to protect the surroundings. No one has been reported hurt.