Nipomo Recreation Center Fire

Nipomo Recreation Center Fire

Photo by Camille MacClain–Nipomo High School Junior

More after photos at the end of this post.

The abandoned Nipomo Recreation Center caught fire this evening, 5/7/08.  MSNBC Local San Luis Obispo County news carried the story:

Cal Fire reports that there is a commercial structure fire in the 200 block of South Frontage Road in Nipomo.

Cal Fire, San Luis Obispo County Fire, and the Nipomo Fire Department are on the scene, and the Santa Maria Fire Department is on its way.

The blaze is consuming the Nipomo Recreation Center. At this time, the fire is not contained, but Cal Fire reports that all resources possible are on the scene.

On site witnesses stated that fire responders from several San Luis Obispo County departments responded to the scene.  More as news develops.  It is unclear how extensive the damage was to the structure.

The Santa Maria Times has this short paragraph on its website:

Fire engulfed the former Nipomo Community Center about 7 p.m., drawing a response from multiple fire agencies who are trying to keep the flames from spreading to nearby buildings and dry grass.

The building, now vacant, is just south of Tefft Street on South Frontage Road west of Highway 101 near Little Jocko’s restaurant.

For a full account, see Thursday’s Santa Maria Times.

KCOY’s website has the following short paragraph:


NIPOMO- Several fire departments responded to a working fire in Nipomo on Frontage Street at the Nipomo Recreation Center.

The fire broke out just before 7 Wednesday night.

Stay tuned to KCOY CBS 12/ FOX 11 News for the latest details on the developing story.

The San Luis Tribune also now has a short paragraph on its website:

Fire burns old rec center in Nipomo
Nipomo Fire

The Tribune

Multiple fire agencies responded to a fire at the Nipomo Recreation Center located on the 200 block of Frontage Road in Nipomo. Photo: Laura Dickinson 5-7-08

A two-alarm fire destroyed much of the former Nipomo Recreation Center off of Highway 101 Wednesday night.

The blaze burned in most of the front part of the building along South Frontage Road. It started just before 7 p.m., according to County/Cal Fire.

Nobody appeared to be in the building at the time, Cal Fire officials said.

But deputies were searching the surrounding area and the nearby Long’s Drugs shopping center for four men that firefighters reportedly saw ran away, according to Sheriff’s Department radio dispatches.

The blaze was under control by about 8 p.m., though firefighters were still working to put out the fire through the evening. The cause remained under investigation as of late Wednesday night.

The building was leased by the Nipomo Area Recreation Association until 2003, when the county Office of Education put the parcel up for sale.

An investor who hoping to build a hotel and retail stores on the 5 acre property bought it in 2004.

Since then the fate of the building and the land has been unclear, and the recreation center has been working out of modular buildings in Nipomo Community Park.

— Tribune staff report

Photo by Laura Dickinson

The Tribune report is the first I have read possibly linking some individuals with the fire.  Most of the local media outlets have very minimal coverage thus far.  The next best coverage will likely be on KSBY and KCOY during their 11:00 p.m. newscasts.  I will polst followups as I find further information that is available.

11:03 p.m. KCOY had the better of the news coverage, between the local television stations.  They had longer and more in depth coverage.  KCOY also reported, as did the Tribune, that four young men were seen running away from the building about the time of the fire.  The economic losses to the building remain unknown.  KSBY reported that one firefighter was injured fighting the blaze and was taken to Arroyo Grande Hospital.

KCOY’s website has a video clip played on their 11:00 p.m. newscast.  Click on the Recreation Center fire story.

It is almost unbelievable that people might have been involved in deliberately setting this fire.  There has been no official determination, of course; however, arson investigators will be able to determine whether it was deliberately set.  If it was, then I hope law enforcement and arson investigators will successfully track down the miscreants responsible and punish them accordingly.

Below are some photos I took this morning 5/8/08.  They aren’t the best quality as I only had my phone camera.  If anyone else has photos you would like posted, email me at guy.murray |at|, and I will post them.

3 thoughts on “Nipomo Recreation Center Fire

  1. It’s sad to see the old Recreation Center go. My parents had their wedding reception there in 1990. I was 10 years old at the time and I remember that place being really nice inside. I recently visited what remains of the site yesterday. there were still pieces of tile laid in place, and funny thing is I remember seeing this tile when it was new. I then looked at different locations on the floor and reminiced about what was where, and who sat where. I haven’t been in the area for years, and now that I am back I was shocked to see that this place had been burned and torn down.

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