Flume Street building sold
On the anniversary of the fire that gutted the old Enloe Hospital building on Flume Street, there is hope that the building may be salvaged for future use, as it has been acquired by master renovator Wayne Cook.
Today the building remains on the outside pretty much the way it looked when firefighters pulled up their hoses and drove away a year ago July 5. A faulty electrical connection sparked the flames that heavily damaged the 90-year-old structure.
Before the building caught fire it served the community for a number of purposes. It was constructed in 1913 as the first home for the Enloe Hospital. Later the Chico Feminist Women’s Health Center occupied the building.
When it went up in flames, three businesses and two apartments were destroyed. Today the building has no roof, metal flashings hang from the roof line and piles of burned and melted material sit behind the broken windows.
Roy Ellis, owner of Ellis Engineering in downtown Chico, bought the building in 1970 and kept it until a few weeks ago, when he entered a purchase agreement with Cook.
“The Flume Street property was sold to Wayne Cook, who is going to take over its responsibility,” said Dave Purvis, a city building official. “In the near future he plans to set up cleaning bins, fence the property and has proposed demolition work.”
Purvis said Cook will remove some of the building, including the façade, in order to return it to its original look. Chico city records show that while Ellis owned the property he never applied for any of permits that would have allowed him to remodel the building and add apartments.
The fire left four people homeless and the three businesses in turmoil. Destroyed in the fire were the Loft Art School, Flume St. Salon and Paradise Lost video store. Each has found a new home.
After the fire there were plans to level the building. At one point firefighters filled the top story with water, hoping the weight would cause the exterior walls to collapse inward. The building retained enough structural integrity to withstand the effort.
Neighbors have complained about the run-down condition of the building and reported people have gained entrance. Cook has told the city he will clean up the outside and secure the area by July 15. He is currently remodeling the old Diamond Hotel on Fourth Street between Salem and Broadway and will not work on the Flume building until the hotel is completed.
Efforts to reach Cook were unsuccessful.