Photo by Vivian Guadalupe Sierra.
Photo by Vivian Guadalupe Sierra.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Vivian Guadalupe Sierra

The Hollister Fire Department responded to a confirmed structure fire at 3:13 a.m. on the 400th block of Fifth Street on Sept. 6. 

The building houses several government departments such as the clerks and election offices. The elections department announced on social media they were closed for the day and would notify the public when they reopen. 

According to Fire Department Chief Bob Martin Del Campo, seven engines were deployed to the scene– four from the city of Hollister and three from Cal Fire. 

In addition, one engine from the Gilroy Fire Department came to the scene. There were 29 total firefighters on scene, including two battalion chiefs – one from Hollister and another from Cal Fire.

He said the cause and origin of the fire is under investigation. He added the severity of damage is unknown. 

“If there’s any considerable damage,” he said, “then an estimation will be to either demolish or reconstruct/repurpose the building.”

Martin Del Campo said this process takes about three to four days.

“We should have a full report within the next 72 to 96 hours so that we can provide it to the county, and they can do their data in terms of recuperating costs,” Martin del Campo said.

Martin Del Campo said neighbors reported the incident saying they saw flames on the second floor of the building that houses the county’s clerk and elections department. He said the fire was contained around 3:45 a.m.

He added the fire could have been worse if the neighbors hadn’t heard the fire alarms and reported it. 

The county announced Sept 7 the temporary locations of the affected offices. The community may contact Administration and connect with the offices at 831-636-4000:

San Benito County Assessor’s office can be reached at:

  • San Benito County Administration: 481 4th St, Hollister, CA 95023

San Benito County Tax Collector’s office can be reached at:

  • San Benito County Free Library: 470 Fifth Street, Hollister, CA 95023
  • If you need to pay your property taxes, you can pay online, by mail or temporary location in the library.

San Benito County Treasurer’s office can be reached at:

  • San Benito County Auditor’s Office: 481 4th St, Hollister, CA 95023

San Benito County Clerks and Recorders office can be reached at:

  • San Benito County Administration: 481 4th St, Hollister, CA 95023

San Benito County Elections office can be reached at:

  • San Benito County Administration: 481 4th St, Hollister, CA 95023

The locations are temporary, and updates will be provided upon any changes. The County of San Benito is committed to serving our community and appreciates the understanding as we navigate through this incident.

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