BANGOR, Calif. — Firefighters are a pragmatic group who learn to assess a situation objectively and make reasoned decisions based on training and judgment.
So discussions of the supernatural aren't usually part of their working world, except at Butte County Fire Station 55 in Bangor.
Sitting on the northern edge of what was a Gold Rush boomtown, the Bangor Fire Station is an aged, decrepit combination of structures that over the years have been remodeled into a single facility.
In the past, the county had to dispatch exterminators to the station to attack a rat population, but it wasn't rats that became a brief topic of conversation at a recent Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting.
The Bangor station is No. 1 on the county's priority list for capital improvements. At the meeting, the supervisors were asked to approve $1.6 million to tear down and replace the station.
That's when Chico Supervisor Jane Dolan commented that the old station has floors that sag and other structural problems. She said the condition of the building and the passing wind were behind the tales of the ghost of Station 55.
Chico Supervisor Maureen Kirk laughingly asked Rich Hall, county director of general services, if he could arrange an "exorcism" at the station.
"That is not included in the proposal," responded Hall with a smile.
In a later telephone interview, Hall explained, "It seems that the firemen up at the Bangor station have the idea that the residence that they are in now is occupied by the ghost.
"It was mentioned to me in a rather jovial way after some of the people came back from a meeting with the fire department about what we were going to do up there."
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