Crestline, CA: A 2nd alarm fire destroys a community landmark.
According to the San Bernardino County Fire Department, firefighters responded to a commercial structure fire on the 23400 block of Crest Forest Drive and Highway 138 in Crestline, California.
Upon their arrival just minutes later, they found the upstairs apartment fully engulfed in flames. The fire was quickly spreading to the below businesses. Not knowing if everyone was out of the building, firefighters conducted a cursory search to no avail.
The wind, estimated at about 10 mph, was pushing embers southward over forest land and towards Highway 18. United States Forest Service firefighters quickly responded and patrolled the vicinity looking for any new fire starts. Heavy smoke could be seen for miles.
The iconic 1929 building was the home to Pazzo’s Italian and Pizza restaurant and the Rim of the World Sports Bar. There was an apartment located directly over the restaurant, and two garages underneath. The fire quickly spread through the common attic space, causing partial roof collapse and forcing firefighters to combat the blaze from the outside.
Both businesses and the upstairs apartment sustained major damage and are a complete loss. Firefighters were instrumental in saving another attached apartment and an adjacent home. The two garages were used for storage and also contained a vehicle. The garage and content sustained smoke and water damage, however received very little fire damage.
A 1900 concert baby grand piano located in the restaurant and a vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle said to have been ridden by daredevil Evil Knievel, were destroyed in the fire. Firefighters tried to remove the motorcycle from its mount over the fireplace, however the roof started to collapse and they were forced to retreat.
In all, 52 firefighters from San Bernardino County, Running Springs, Rialto, and San Manuel Fire Departments, as well as CalFire and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the incident. Working in frigid temperatures, firefighters were able to contain the fire and keep it from spreading; however, due to the intensity of the fire and its location, the fire burned for several hours.
Investigators believe the fire originated in the upstairs apartment, however the exact origin and cause remain under investigation. Firefighters will remain on scene throughout the night conducting mop-up operations. No damage estimate at this time.
** Pictures from the San Bernardino County Fire Department: **