There are rare pockets of historical buildings in Orange County, and Old Town Tustin is one of them. Pass by B Street and you’ll see a magnificent Victorian home, and several storefronts dating from the 19th century down the town’s main drag, El Camino Real.
Sadly, one of those downtown, Victorian stores has been irreparably destroyed. We could, in theory, restore the building and it would look the same, but it would not have its historical pedigree any longer. The Vintage Lady, an appropriate name for a Victorian building, was an antique and garden store at 434 El Camino Real. It dates back to 1885 and housed Tustin’s first doctor’s office. It’s possible that it was Tustin’s oldest building.
Margaret Pottenger, the property’s owner, lives in a house directly behind The Vintage Lady, and was very surprised when police officers escorted her out of her house yesterday—she had no idea that black smoke was pouring out of the antique shop. Her home was undamaged by smoke or fire.
The fire started at about 2:45 p.m., according to Orange County Fire Authority Captain Marc Stone, and the two-alarm fire was eventually put out by the Santa Ana and Orange fire departments, assisted by the Tustin Police Department.
Julie Martin was inside the store when the fire began, and had stepped out of the back room for just two minutes. When she returned, the back room was filled with black smoke so thick she was unable to collect her handbag.
What could have caused this fire in just two minutes? A candle. The firefighters had to cut multiple holes in the roof to release smoke and keep the fire from spreading, according to Stone. He also had some good advice for people: “We ask that during the holidays that people be cautious when using candles, over use of electrical appliances, unattended cooking and space heaters. It is a good time to make sure you have a functioning smoke alarm to alert you of a fire.”
Please be careful this holiday season—nothing ruins a holiday celebration more quickly than a fire! Don’t miss next week’s blogs when we talk about Christmas trees and the potential for devastating fires.
Has your home or business been damaged by smoke or fire? Do you have water damage from having the fire put out? We are experts in restoring your residence or business back to its original condition. Please call us immediately for an estimate—our experienced technicians are standing by to help you. (877) 732-8471