Downtown Bakersfield structure fire displaces 30 people

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – A structure fire in downtown Bakersfield has displaced 30 people.

The fire broke out shortly after two in the morning.

“I was laying there sleeping, you know, then I heard ‘fire, fire, fire,’ you know,” said Hart Hotel resident Joseph Jones. “Then everyone started rushing people and people started saving people from above and pushing people out. They had an open fire escape so everyone could get out of there.

A few residents say the manager and his family rushed to help save older tenants.

“They literally had to knock on doors and break them down just to get people out because they weren’t waking up, you know they’re old,” Jones said.

The Hart Hotel was last inspected and adopted by the Bakersfield Fire Department less than a month ago. BFD says the building was not required to have a sprinkler system, but had working smoke detectors.

The Hart Hotel shares a wall with the Mission Hotel. The Mission Hotel was closed about two years ago for the same reason, a structural fire. BFD says the damage to the Hart Hotel could be extensive.

“So they had multiple showers on the third floor and when they evacuated the structure they left the showers running,” said Brian Bowman of the Bakersfield Fire Department. “These also overflowed and flooded the third floor. Thus, between our water and the water of the building itself, there could be significant water damage.

The hotel housed its tenants in a motel after the fire, but now tenants who paid $550 say they are confused, out of place and desperate for a place to stay.

“They only put us up for one night and I understand we were supposed to stay there until the place was fixed,” said Lisa King, another resident of the Hart Hotel.

“What’s going to happen? We’re in a bad place already, you know, in a bad time and with the whole pandemic going on, so where are we going to stay, you know,” Jones said.

At this time, it is not known what started the fire, but luckily no one was injured.

The Hart Hotel will remain closed until further notice.