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SPECIAL PLACES: Some needed saving, and some need to be built. Although firefighters were able to quickly dowse an electrical fire that broke out in the historic County Courthouse last January, the black smoke that belched from vents covered the walls of the Mural Room, arguably one of the most visited rooms on the South Coast. In order to properly clean the delicate paintings that cover every inch of the space, Patty West (pictured) — of the South Coast Fine Arts Conservation Center — and her team spent nearly four months clambering up and down scaffolding with spray bottles and cotton swabs in hand. The cleaning was a success, though West says further restoration work is needed to keep the murals as colorful and vibrant as they are today.

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