SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — Intense flames tore through the historic Big Oaks Lodge in Santa Clarita and reduced the building to ashes.
The fire quickly spread through the restaurant in the 33000 block of Bouquet Road, sending smoke and flames high into the air.
The fire broke out at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, completely destroying the well-known place. A couple of dozen firefighters responded immediately. When they arrived, the flames were through the roof.
Those in the area said the lodge – which was built nearly 100 years ago – will surely be missed.
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold spoke to lodge workers and patrons who are looking forward to a rebuild.
Michaela Berberat worked at the lodge as a bartender and she was working last night.
“It’s amazing,” she said, “I was just here less than 24 hours ago. And for it to just be burned to the ground like that…”
The lodge once served as a stop for stage coaches and in later years it was a place for amateur boxers to train and fight. In more recent years, the place drew a crowd of locals, bikers and bands from across the country.
“It’s sad. It makes me sad,” says Nicole Nolan. “This is history. This has been here forever.”
Weingold also spoke to Bella Milligan. She knows the property well. Her grandmother used to own the lodge.
She said back in the day the electrical wiring was always, in her words, “a little funny.”
Bella said a special part of her childhood is gone.
“My grandma and I wanted to see it for ourselves, to see if it actually burned down,” she said, “we know that possibility. It survived a couple of fires. But it felt impossible.”
Weingold says firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading — the lodge was surrounded by lots of vegetation. Firefighters were also able to keep the fire from reaching the Angeles National Forest.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.