The fate of the destroyed Toppenish Public Works building

TOPPENISH, WA - It has been nearly a month since a devastating fire ripped through the Public Works building in Toppenish. The building and everything inside was destroyed.

Earlier this week, the City took the first step in a long process to get a new Public Works building by declaring an emergency for the fire. The damage is estimated to be well over two million dollars.

According to Toppenish City Manager, Lance Hoyt, they lost a one million dollar building and $1.5 million worth of content inside.

Here is just a small list of what was in that Public Works building: six vehicles, tools and equipment for the parks department, a van that was used for city transportation, a sand bagging machine, and the City's entire sign shop.

Hoyt says one stop sign costs $100, and there were at least 20 of them in the building at the time of the August 23 fire.

"That building has been there for 100 years and had been added onto four or so times," said Hoyt. "Each time we were pretty efficient in our use of space putting everything in a spot, and now it's all gone."

Declaring the emergency allows the City, with the approval of the insurance company, to demolish what's left of the building.

During Monday's City Council meeting, an ordinance was approved to pay for replacing equipment up to $500,000.

But there is still a long way to go before Toppenish opens a new Public Works building. Hoyt says the City will have to go through a process: their normal policy of getting three bids on everything they plan to replace in order to get the best piece of equipment.

Hoyt adds that the entire process likely means Toppenish may not open a new Public Works building for at least a year.

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