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Sayre Fire (Sylmar) Mobile Home Park

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  • Sayre Fire (Sylmar) Mobile Home Park

    I noticed in another thread someone mentioned the “Mobile Home Park” which burned to the ground in the Sayre fire today destroying over 500-homes. As this was one of my clients I thought I would add some insight into it. If you drove through or pass the park you would have a hard time calling it a “Mobile Home Park”. To be in the park you needed to have a modular home with a separately framed enclosed garage. These did not look like mobile homes and many of them had stucco exteriors. The park was a beautiful gated community with a 24/7 manned guard gate and a full time maintenance staff of a dozen or so. It also was a +55 park so to many this was their retirement home and included all of their worldly processions.

    To give a little history of my association with the park, I first went out there in 1984. It was the historic location of the Stetson Ranch and the caretaker was living in the chauffeur’s house which had old gravity furnaces in the basement with push-button controls. He heard I had worked for EL Payne at one time and they were the manufacturer of the valves until sometime in the 50s. I had heard this guy was the best welder in the World and I needed a new bulletproof hitch installed on the back of my new hunting truck (84 F250 4X4 Diesel). We talked over the phone and agreed to an even trade so I headed over to repair his valves.

    Driving through the property I noticed the remains of the swimming pool. This was no ordinary swimming pool as it was about 100’ X 400’ with a leaf skimming gutter all the way around the perimeter. As the swimming pool was also “reservoir #1” they could not use chemicals so it was all done naturally. Very little of the original Stetson Ranch home was left as a mud slide years earlier had destroyed it. I asked Bob why they had never torn the rest of the house down and he explained the electrical sub-station serving all of Sylmar was located in the basement of the house.

    The chauffeur’s house was a beautiful home which had been impeccably restored to its original glory. Walking through the home made you feel like you were in a museum. On one side of the home was a 10-car garage and on the other was a large tractor barn and a large livestock barn which was converted to a shop. We called the caretaker “Big Bob” because he was 6’7” and 400 pounds of solid muscle. He had just returned from the Alaskan Oil Fields where his job was rebuilding the BIG Cats. He took the job as caretaker so he could use the shop to start his own business of grading and rebuilding big equipment.

    When the owner of Stetson Ranch told Bob he would have to move because he was building a mobile home park Bob convinced him to let him stay on to do the clearing and grading. Bob was a pretty smart guy so he spent the next few years harvesting the giant Eucalyptus trees on the property for his new firewood business and grading lots as needed. It took about 7-years to complete all of the lots and during that time Bob started his maintenance business and stayed on to run the park. My plumbing company was there from the start and still has them as clients today.

    We lost Bob last year to medical issues but will never forget him. The 10-car garage was torn down during an expansion of the park but the chauffeur’s house, tractor barn and shop were spared during the expansion. The fire today took out over 500-homes and the tractor barn but the chauffeur’s house and shop survived the fire. So in the famous words of Paul Harvey “now you know the rest of the story”. It was not just a mobile home park it was a lot of memories to a lot of people.

    Last edited by ToUtahNow; 11-16-2008, 12:02 AM.
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

  • #2
    Re: Sayre Fire (Sylmar) Mobile Home Park

    Thanks for the history, Mark. It's never good when a fire rips through a neighborhood. That sounds like a mighty fancy park for sure! I hope everyone is safe....although it so completely sux to be burned out. That's gotta be tough on old folks. My heart goes out to all those families.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Re: Sayre Fire (Sylmar) Mobile Home Park

      A real tragedy, 500 homes burned to the ground. Here is what is left:
      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information


      • #4
        Re: Sayre Fire (Sylmar) Mobile Home Park

        Yikes! Looks like the opening landscape in the movie Terminator

        I knew tornadoes didn't like mobile homes but fires too?