Vagabond – a total loss


Photos by Bill LeFever

Photos by Bill LeFever

The smoke and fire that devastated the Bishop Vagabond Inn has cleared. What remains is a burned out shell which a fire investigator believes is a total loss.

It was Thursday morning when ferocious flames leaped out of the back of the Inn. Unconfirmed reports said some guests jumped from the top floor to escape the sudden fire. Units from Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, Mammoth and other agencies responded. Firefighters had trouble getting the flames out in the crawl space.

Bishop Police Public Information Officer Katie Coffman said that she had walked the fire scenevagabond8-152 with a Cal Fire investigator from Hesperia. She said the investigator believes criminal activity was not involved in the fire. Coffman said 43 rooms were lost plus 5 utility rooms. She said the Vagabond is reviewing the structural damage. Coffman also said the investigator believes the Inn is a total loss, with an estimated monetary loss in the millions.

The City of Bishop building inspector will also review the building for possible red tagging and removal. Bishop Public Works dealt with another issue – all the water used to put out the fire flooded the grounds of the nearby mobile home park. Coffman said there was no actual damage to any of the trailers. Public Works used a pump to clear the water out.

We have been unable to reach Vagabond for their comments. It is known that as many as 60 guests were evacuated from the motel when the fire started. 22 of them, mostly from other countries, went to the shelter at the Charles Brown Auditorium where they were helped with replacement of their passports.

4 Responses to Vagabond – a total loss

  1. Mongo August 17, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Darn, that was my favorite place to stay in Bishop. I really liked the rooms in the back, especially back in the day it was more like a park. It was perfect for my dog and truck back there, lots of privacy and quiet. It was home away from home; BBQ, catch, lay out your gear, have a smoke, whatever!
    I’ll miss it even though I have a place of my own. I hope they rebuild. I hope the people who are out of a job are OK….

  2. TIm August 16, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    So Sad, Lucky there was no loss of life.
    It seems like a failure of building code enforcement. How can a fire get this far out of control? Where were the fire separations or fire sprinklers. perhaps the other motels should be looked at for fire safety

    • Desert Tortoise August 18, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      Maybe not. Fires spread very fast through the attic crawl space. I don’t think there is a requirement for fire walls between units, much less firewalls that continue all the way to the roof. I have seen strip mall fires take out multiple businesses when the fire spread through the attic crawl space from one unit to another. No code violation, just how these kinds of buildings are built. You also have to look at what the codes were when that building was built, which is not very recent.

  3. Tinner August 16, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    Dang, that’s too bad. How many people out of work?


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