Cal Fire responded to reports of a building filled with smoke at the Yokoji Zen Mountain Center on Thursday, April 21. When firefighters arrived just before 8 a.m., they found a single-story structure with light smoke showing, confined to one room.

Responders contained the fire within half an hour.

Zen Center resident Melissa Severa said no one was hurt. “A Zen student resident left an item near the wall heater and it caught fire,” noted Severa. “The fire was contained to one room alone, the resident’s bedroom. Her wardrobe is a loss, and she is a fashion designer just graduated from The Royal Academy in London, so [in the wardrobe] must have been some ‘one-of-a-kinds.’

“What matters is that everyone is safe.”

Seventeen firefighters from companies 53 (Garner Valley), 23 (Pine Cove) and 30 (Pinyon) responded to the incident. During the Mountain Fire in 2014, the Zen Mountain Center narrowly escaped fire damage but was hugely impacted later by water-carried mud coursed over fire-ravaged hills directly in back of the center.