Breaking News: Downtown Barstow, CA: Investigation underway into a “suspicious in nature” fire that destroyed the historic El Rancho Motel along historic U.S. Route 66 last Tuesday night.

By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews)

Source: Barstow Police Department  (Information)

Pictures: Barstow Police Department and Barstow Fire Protection District (Courtesy)

Downtown Barstow, California: An investigation is underway into a “suspicious in nature” fire that destroyed the historic El Rancho Motel along historic U.S. Route 66 on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022.

According to the Barstow Police Department, at approximately 9:02 PM, Barstow Police Communications Center received a call of multiple rooms on fire at the El Rancho Motel located in the 100 block of West Main Street.

The Communications Center dispatched Police Officers and the Barstow Fire Protection District to the scene and upon arrival officers observed the center portion of the El Rancho Motel engulfed in flames which precipitated the need to close a portion of Second Street and Main Street to allow fire personnel to address the fire.

Fire department units from MCLB, Ft. Irwin, Apple Valley, Victorville, San Manuel, Highland, Rialto, and Fontana all responded to the scene to assist and fought the fire for approximately three (3) hours before it was under control; members of the Barstow Fire Protection District and San Bernardino County Fire remain on scene at this time.

“Barstow Police detectives and evidence technicians were called to the scene along with detectives from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Bomb and Arson Detail. Detectives are currently on scene and an initial investigation reveals the cause of the fire to be suspicious in nature,” said Barstow Police Captain Chris Kirby.

Personnel from Southern California Edison are currently on scene attempting to restore power to several businesses that lost power due to poles and wires that were burned in the incident; the building was previously Red Tagged over 1 month ago due to unsafe hazardous conditions and deemed uninhabitable.

Main Street will continue to remain closed for several hours through-out the day and the Barstow Police Department would like to ask residents for their cooperation in staying clear of the area for their own personal safety and to allow all personnel to process the scene in a timely manner.

Originally built by Cliff Chase in the mid-1940’s, the El Rancho Motel was a big motel for it’s time; built from wooden railroad ties from the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad giving the motel a sort of log cabin look.

The El Rancho Motel had a huge neon 100 feet sign that was built by the Electrical Products Corporation, was installed in 1947 and was completely restored in 1994.

Through the years, the El Rancho Motel has been a public motel, a private motel for Santa Fe Railroad workers, senior citizen housing and residential rentals all along historic U.S. Route 66 that was one of the original highways in the United States Numbered Highway System.

Anyone with information regarding this fire investigation may contact Detective Austyn Willis at: 1(760) 255-5186 or at:

Those wishing to remain anonymous may also provide information by calling the WE-TIP hotline at 1-800-79-CRIME (27469) or by going to

Thanks to all of the firefighters, paramedics, emergency personnel, emergency volunteers and law enfacement for responding to this incident.


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