Since the Junction Fire of Aug. 18, 2014, Suburban Propane has been temporarily housed near Sears. The propane office, eight structures, including two homes, along with 650 acres were destroyed in what some have called the hottest-burning fire since the Harlow Fire of 1961.
Now, little more than a year later, Suburban is in the process of rebuilding at their old site on Highway 41. Johnston General Contracting of Fresno, has been hired for the project, under the supervision of foreman Dustin May.
May gives the deadline for building completion as Dec. 31, and said the new facility will be “bigger and better.”
“We’re excited and look forward to the rebuild, the grand re-opening - in early January if the deadline is met, and our continued community service and visability in the Oakhurst area,” Customer Service Center Manager Debra Jackson said.
Even though the contents of the office and warehouse were completely destroyed, because of the company’s computers and scanners, customer data was not lost.
“That’s why our customers didn’t feel a hop, skip or a jump,” Jackson added. “The only thing that changed was the building we were sitting in.”
Less than one month after the Junction Fire, as Mountain Area residents were beginning to adjust to the loss, and breathe a collective sigh of relief - thankful for having “dodged a bullet” - a second fire raged through the community, leaving residents reeling in its wake.
On a hot summer Sept. 14 afternoon, the Courtney Fire quickly spread from Courtney Lane off Crane Valley Road (426), burning up the valley to the north, jumping Road 426 ... leaving Bass Lake Heights looking more like a war zone than a residential subdivision.
In the end, the Courtney Fire destroyed 30 homes, 19 outbuildings, and 13 vehicles. At the height of the fire, 400 homes were threatened and mandatory evacuations were ordered.
A few days from now will mark the one year anniversary of the Courtney Fire.