A late-evening fire on Saturday destroyed the workshop of Karson Meltzer on Marian View Drive. Idyllwild Fire responded and kept the fire confined to that building.




All photos by Jenny Kirchner.

Karson reportedly was at the home of a friend at the time the fire broke out. There were no injuries, but Karson related that he lost all of his tools in the blaze — drills, saws, welding equipment, ventilation system, everything.

His father, Jeff Meltzer, who resides with his wife and grandson on adjacent property, stated that the family was awakened by a loud boom they originally thought was a gunshot. Jeff said he suspects that was Karson’s acetylene tank, used in welding, exploding from the heat. When the family saw the flames from their window they called Idyllwild Fire. Several smaller reports, believed to be paint cans exploding, were also heard.

Paul Riggi, of Idyllwild Volunteer Fire Company, conducted a nearly four-hour investigation. Karson said they found the workshop had been closed and locked, and that the electrical system was not at fault, nor was any other cause identified. Jeff stated that Riggi indicated to him that his report likely would find the fire to be of undetermined origin.

Karson says that despite losing his tools he has worked at various jobsites everyday since the fire. But he does not know how he is going to replace his tools. Nonetheless, he maintains a positive attitude. “I’m moving forward,” he said.

Jack Clark may be reached at [email protected].