Fire Party


The enormous Valentine’s Day conflagration that consumed the former home of prostitutes and drugs called the Voyager Motel brought out hundreds of firefighters.

And hundreds of spectators, photographers, cars and neighbors who eagerly and gleefully watched smoke and flames from safe vantage points near the fire site at Sepulveda and Hamlin Streets.

Children were hoisted atop parental shoulders, laughing bicycles circled streets, black clad Vaca Negras in their Sunday best waddled to box seats near the flames.

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It was the greatest entertainment in our area since an elephant stood on a driveway and hosed a car on an episode of Workaholics.

We had been driving from downtown, and on the 101 near Laurel Canyon could see a funnel cloud of dark smoke, somewhere in the NW distance, and then heard on the radio, an announcement, that there was an enormous blaze happening right near our home.

When we drove up Hamlin, the strong winds were blowing the acrid fumes south, away from our street, as if God herself had intervened to produce something dangerous and exciting within hundreds of feet from our house, without endangering any of us.

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The life risks were undertaken by 170 firefighters who spent almost three hours dousing the fire, killing it by drowning it until its fearsomeness and ferociousness fled.

For years, the Voyager Motel was a constant blight on the area. Nothing could end that local monster whose clientele paid by the hour, and whose rooms and reputation stained and demoralized everything around it. The sex and drug trade flourished. Nightly sirens and helicopters and cops buzzed the fleabag whorehouse. And then, last year, the motel was shut down, or went out of business.

One problem ended in Van Nuys, as 666 other criminal activities flourished.

Yesterday, Satan returned to finish his business at the Voyager Motel, his personal university in Van Nuys, and did it in his usual surprise way.

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VNCC Member Penny Meyer (L) pays an official visit to the fire scene.
VNCC Member Penny Meyer (L) pays an official visit to the fire scene.

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Fire Party

  1. So I have to ask… When this property is scraped away with great fanfare and relief what will go in its place? The cost of the land, the endless entitlement process, the massive impact fees, and the cost of new construction all suggest the replacement for the old motel will be pretty expensive. Are the good people of Van Nuys going to embrace luxury condos or upscale rental apartments? Will you lobby against gentrification? If affordable housing is proposed will you reject that too, for fear of the “wrong element” returning? Or will you lament the vacant lot that sits there in limbo year after year? Those tend to be the options on offer.

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    1. Nobody here fights against anything good or bad. This isn’t SF. There is only gratitude if a new McDonald’s or an upscale Jiffy Lube opens. If apartments are built they might be rental units atop commercial space. That is the trend here even in Van Nuys.

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