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People's Center in Pablo sees extent of fire damage

Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 13:49:21-04

It's been days since an arson heavily damaged the People's Center in Pablo.

And where many of the Native American museum artifacts were spared, the center is realizing just how much was lost in the flames.

You can still see Chief Alexander through the ruins of his portrait.

As today, employees of the People’s center in Pablo go through the part of the facility hardest hit by Sunday’s arson.

“The damage is horrific," Marie Torosian the People’s Center Program director said.

Priceless artifacts from the museum were spared, seen here behind soot and water streaked glass.they are at the Salish Kootenai college drying out and airing out. But the loss is greater.

“I’m happy that these articles have survived, and they will still be with us but my heart hearts at the loss at what we lost at the repository," said Torosian.

Today was the first day staff got to go into that repository and carefully take out items, many are still water soaked and covered in soot.

Other items are unrecognizable. It will take days before the true extent of the damage is known. And beyond the physical damage of the fire, is the emotional kind.

"Sounds funny to grieve over a job but when you’re been here as long as I have, you put a lot of yourself into your job. You see employees come and go. And is just me and Marie for the last 17 years. It's pretty tough," Gift shop manager, Loushie Charlo said.

Marie Torosian, is the program manager, her office was destroyed. in the fire. She had to watch it happen Sunday night. But the support from other museums, from the community illustrate how important this center is to the people of Mission valley. And sometimes, in the face of a crisis, a community grows stronger.

People express their hurt, their anger, their support, their love for everyone here and for the Tribes and for the center as a whole. I just think it’s going to give us strength.