Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

The Saddleback Inn is burning to the ground tonight.  The fire is incredible.  It is being reported live on Channel 11 News, at this link.

The owner of the Saddleback Inn issued eviction notices to his residents in July of last year, as we reported here.

The City of Santa Ana encouraged the owner of the Saddleback Inn to convert his hotel to apartments, as he had a lot of long-term tenants there.  For safety reasons, the City planning agency wanted him to improve the property, or convert it.  He chose to evict everyone instead.

I don’t know what caused this fire, but if the buildings were empty it is not hard to believe that a transient may have set a fire, to stay warm.  This happens a lot with empty buildings.

The Santa Ana Fire Department will likely look into this to see if arson was involved.  The owner will surely benefit from having the structures burn down.  His insurance will pay for new buildings.  The FBI might even have a look at this one, if the local public safety officials feel it is warranted.

The Saddleback Inn is located at 1655 E. 1st St., not far from the Santa Ana Zoo and the Elks Lodge.

UPDATE: Firefighters brought the blaze under control within an hour, using water cannons to douse the flames from above, according to the O.C. Register, which also reported that the flames were largely confined to the third floor and attic of the building.

About 60 firefighters from the Santa Ana, Costa Mesa and Garden Grove fire departments, as well as the Orange County Fire Authority, helped put out the fire.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

7 thoughts on “Huge fire guts Santa Ana’s Saddleback Inn”
  1. When I was first stationed at El Toro Marine base back in 1980, I remember the Saddleback Inn being the crown jewel for travelers. It is very sad to see this once proud iconic fixture of Santa Ana, reduced to ashes.

    However, the way the city let the current owner(s) neglect and run down the property to the point of an eye sore, it’s probably better this way. How fitting for commuters to see this as they enter our city: “Welcome to Santa Ana; enjoy our numerous eye sores…” Shame on Santa Ana Leadership.

    1. Tim,

      Thanks for sharing those memories!

      I spoke to a manager at Santa Ana’s planning agency in July about this issue. The City has done all they can, legally, to compel the owner of the property to clean it up and bring it up to code. Now his insurance will pay for that, I guess.

      There is only so much a city can do when a property owner lets his property go bad.

  2. I agree with Tim that it is very sad to see what has become of the Saddleback Inn in recent years. I too remember when it was the place to stay in central OC.

    Rather than dwelling on the past and pointing fingers we should now look at this as an opportunity. This is a prime location and hopefully we can attract a first rate development on this site, something we can all be proud of.

  3. I was just talking about this place several weeks ago when myself and several co-workers drove by. One of them asked if it was closed and said yeah probably because of all the crack heads, police activity and and deaths they’ve had there. Hey and what do you know some crack head loitering cause it burn down. That area is so disgusting.

  4. Somewhere out there there is a “LOST OC” website, maybe youtube that features the Saddleback Inn. It was THE place to stay for families waiting for thier tract homes to be finished after Dad’s big job transfer in the late 1970’s.

    I’ll look for the link.

    Did the monkey at the Zoo go crazy? Monkeys HATE fire.

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