Belfor begins 'intricate' process of cleaning up fire-stricken.. - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Belfor begins 'intricate' process of cleaning up fire-stricken PBS Hawaii

Drew Chamberlain, Belfor Property Restoration Drew Chamberlain, Belfor Property Restoration
Robert Pennybacker, PBS Hawaii Robert Pennybacker, PBS Hawaii

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A property restoration company on Tuesday started the intricate process of cleaning up the fire-stricken PBS Hawaii studios in Manoa.

Armed with rags and a special cleaning solution, workers with Belfor went to work on getting the TV station back on its feet.

"Definitely requires a different skill set than cleaning up a residence," Drew Chamberlain, Belfor Property Restoration, said. "It requires some other specialized people that know how to deal with a commercial setting that have worked in studios before."

Last Friday's fire, which started after a studio light popped, knocked the station off the air for more than 24 hours.

Belfor says most of the damage was caused by smoke, not flames or water. Workers will spend weeks wiping down studio equipment, cleaning out air conditioning ducts, opening up computers and mixing boards to get to the parts inside, and removing the damaged sound-proofing insulation inside Studio A.

"Smoke travels anywhere air might travel," Chamberlain said. "Based on the pressurization of the building, it can get into electronics, in the interstitial spaces in between walls and up above ceilings, so all those areas need to be addressed."

Station officials say they've come up with a plan to resume production of in-studio programming -- such as Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox and Insights with host Dan Boylan -- next week. While Studio A is being worked on, they'll borrow the smaller Studio B, which is used by University of Hawaii communications students.

"They teach classes in here and it's a studio for student productions," Robert Pennybacker, PBS Hawaii, said. "It just turns out that our schedule of productions jibes with their class schedule."

The initial damage estimate from fire officials was $250,000. But PBS Hawaii believes the cost of restoring the building and making it production-ready will far exceed that.

Previously-scheduled live pledge shows on December 4th and 6th will address the fire.

"It certainly will be included in the on-air dialogue," Pennybacker said. "But we won't do a special fundraiser for it."

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