Cleanup of blaze bugs bees |

Cleanup of blaze bugs bees

There has been plenty of buzz from the March 20 fire in downtown Nevada City, with incessant questions about the fate of other businesses, the new building’s design and what to do with the salvageable bricks.

“There’s a lot of screwy rumors,” City Councilman Steve Cottrell said near the cleanup at North Pine and Commercial streets.

On Tuesday, the buzz was literal.

Honeybees, gobs of them, swirled after being disturbed from a dormant chimney in the old Elks Lodge building.

“The sky turned black with them,” said Robinson Enterprises cleanup foreman Don Hoffler.

When they settled again, Hoffler said they formed a “15-foot beard” below the air vent they came from, along a brick wall the destroyed building shared with Broad Street businesses.

Hoffler said he called in a Nevada County Agriculture Commission worker, who recommended flooding them with a water hose, predicting “they’ll eventually go somewhere else.” That approach will be tried today.

The cleanup continued with Robinson Enterprises workers removing debris with a crane and hauling it to a landfill in Lockwood, Nev., near Sparks, where most of the McCourtney Road Transfer Station’s garbage winds up.

Workers stayed clear of the suspected area of origin, in the rear of Friar Tuck’s Restaurant & Bar, preserving the scene for insurance investigators expected to return Monday.

The fire destroyed the restaurant; the Herb Shop, which was also home to a deli and record shop; the county Probation Department, and the Off Broadstreet theater.

Governmental investigators claim the fire started in the restaurant laundry room, but the restaurant owners called the findings premature. The fire’s cause remains elusive and many say it might never be known.

Meanwhile, Cottrell made it known Tuesday that Mayor Kerry Arnett appointed him community liaison to quell rumors and be an information clearinghouse.

For starters, he said, the old bricks will be used in the new building’s facade. Usable bricks are being hauled to a off-site area and cleaned.

And, he said, “It’s fair to say (the new building) will look substantially like the building that was.”

Business owners also wanted to erect special signs, he said, to let the public know they’re open.

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