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Local News

Firework Blamed For Igniting Fire at Anderson Recreation Center in Lompoc

A firework sparked a blaze that damaged the exterior of Lompoc's Anderson Recreation Center late Wednesday night.

At 9:14 p.m. personnel from the Lompoc and Santa Barbara County fire departments responded to a reporter of bushes on fire against the building at 125 W. Walnut Ave.

“Crews arrived on scene and found a large fire against the building that was threatening the structure,” Lompoc fire Battalion Chief Brian Federmann said. “The fire had begun to extend to the exterior components and broke the windows, causing smoke to fill the building.”

Firefighters quickly attacked the exterior fire while a second crew entered the building to check whether the fire had extended inside.

They were able to knock the fire down in five minutes and did not find any extension into the building, Federmann said.

Charred building Click to view larger
A fire sparked by a firework caused an estimated $5,000 damage to the Anderson Recreation Center in Lompoc late Wednesday night. (Lompoc Fire Department photo)

However, exterior components of the building had to revemoved, and extensive charring was found inside the walls. 

Federmann said witnesses reported seeing someone place fireworks on the wall near the bushes, leading to the determination a firework sparked the blaze, he siad.

Those using the fireworks fled before Lompoc police arrived, Federmann said. 

Investigators were working to determine if the pyrotechnics were the safe and sane version or illegal fireworks, but initially suspected it might have involved a safe and sane item, Federmann said Thursday. 

Damage initially has been estimated at approximately $5,000.

The Anderson Recreation Center remains open, and Lompoc recreation programs were continuing as scheduled. city spokeswoman Samantha Scroggin said Thursday.

The building is the home to the main business office for the city's Parks & Recreation Department and many of its programs such as the father-daughter and mother-son dances.

The 11,000-square-foot, multi-level center features a gymnasium, several classrooms and a kitchen. The facility is used for basketball, volleyball, exercise and dance programs, educational and recreational classes, receptions, and parties.

The historic facility opened in September 1942 by the federal government as a USO  center to serve the recreational and social needs of military personnel stationed in the Lompoc Valley when now-Vandenberg Air Force Base was then Camp Cooke, according to the city of Lompoc website.

The city of Lompoc purchased the building in 1947, and it served as a City Hall facility until the current Civic Center Complex’s construction off East Ocean Avenue.

After debate about the future of the old City Hall building, leaders decided to renovate the structure to retire the original floor plan and give the facility a new life.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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