St. Augustine's Lightner Museum fumigation begins Friday

by: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax Updated:

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Termite-killing fumes will soon fill the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine as the city prepares to tent the entire building.

On Wednesday, the city will block off the back parking lot and come Thursday night, you’ll likely see workers gearing up to cover the 200,000-square-foot building with a tent.

Tourists often flock to the Lightner Museum in the heart of St. Augustine. It’s not often you get to see a structure from the late 1800s built by “the” Henry Flagler.


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“I think they're beautiful. There's something that you don't see ever again,” tourist Debbie Newman said.

But it’s what’s not visible that has General Services Director Jim Piggott worried.

“The termites are eating away at the interior portions of the building,” Piggott said.

Back in March, Action News Jax showed you the damage the insects left in the museum portion.

“And a lot of the city office building, especially around the windows,” Piggott said.

About $385,000 of taxpayer money will go into the project. Piggott said the city expects about 10 percent damage to the building following the fumigation. Those repairs costs have already been factored in to next year’s budget.


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City employees will need to take either vacation or sick time during the five-day closure.

“Hopefully Friday, weather permitting, we're going to start the fumigation process,” Piggott said.

If all goes as planned, the building will be back open for business July 5.

The last time the building was tented was 12 years ago. Piggott said once the tenting process is complete, they’ll continue monitoring for the insects.

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