The Hanford Fox Theater, a downtown anchor since 1929, is being restored following a ceiling collapse.
Trouble began March 20 when owner and manager Dan Humason walked in and found the auditorium ceiling had fallen overnight.
"I thought a bomb had gone off," he said. "Everything was covered in white."
The ceiling fell "like a carpet of concrete," he said, wiping out ceiling lights that sparkled like stars in the night sky -- a much beloved feature.
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No one was hurt, and the collapse prompted "a huge outpouring of love" from the community, Humason said.
The Humason family has owned the building for decades, and he has booked acts such as Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.
His love of the old theater is palpable.
"I don't own the building, it owns me," he said.
The marquee uses old-fashioned lettering because that's the way Humason likes it -- "the ladder is almost therapy for me," he said -- and now on the marquee are the words "Timber!" on one face and "Sweatin' and Fretin' " on the other.
The Fox has plenty of stories to tell.
Performer Chris LeDoux accidentally set a curtain on fire in the 1990s.
A junior volunteer fireman put it out by using an old fire extinguisher from the 1950s that put out a stream high enough to reach the flames as the crowd shouted "Burn Baby Burn" in the mistaken belief that it was part of the show, Humason said.
Another time, a customer proposed marriage by whispering into the ear of his intended, and they drove to Las Vegas that night, he said.
After the ceiling fell in, the Humasons filed a claim with their insurer, which hired Belfor Property Restoration in Fresno to do repairs.
A lattice of scaffolding now dominates the interior.
The building is so old that no asbestos has been found. Burned rice hulls were used as insulation. A torn rice hull bag found in debris is now on display in the "coming attractions" window.
Two weeks ago, a hiccup occurred when someone noticed that exposed rafters were shifting position. A structural engineer said to evacuate the neighboring businesses just in case the roof collapsed.
The city blocked off the street.
Special scaffolding was brought in to shore up the rafters, and within a couple of days the city said the area was safe again.
Now, "everything but the roof will go," Humason said. He estimated it would take until the end of the year to finish.
"We're not rushing," he said. "We'll make sure we do a good job."
He said the plan is to bring everything up to code "but also make it look exactly like 1929" -- including the stars in the ceiling.
When the Fox reopens, the community will welcome it as if it were brand new, said City Manager Darrel Pyle: "I'm confident we'll see another 100 years out of that building."