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Canyon News

Has Laurel Canyon Lost A Music Icon?
Posted by Joann Deutch, Attorney on Apr 7, 2012 - 2:02:13 PM

LAUREL CANYON—This article was written as a reflection shortly after the arson attacks in the Hollywood Hills.

In the mist of the more-than-thirty arson attacks in late 2011 and early 2012, the Jim Morrison house on Rothdell was partially charred on December 29. It was the very first of this bizarre crime spree. For those of us who were thinking "Thank God 2011 is coming to a close," there was yet one more sadness to add to a year full of lamentable events. To the locals, the house is known as “Mojo Risin” in tribute to the grey phrase painted on the bell tower by Jim Morrison’s sister when the house was up for sale years ago.

Charred cars which set the Jim Morrion house on fire

On New Year’s Eve I went down to Lilly’s Patio (at the Country Canyon Store). I left my purse unattended, knowing no one would bother it, and started taking pictures and asking questions. What happened? Did anyone see anything? What did people think about the attack hitting our local treasure? I walked over to two AT&T workmen in a cherry picker working on the utility pole. They said they were there to restore service to the entire block south of the fire. They told me that their service was low voltage and that it was a good thing that the fire did not creep further up the pole to the high voltage service. That would have created an inferno. The AT&T guys thought that the investigator should create a record of all cell phones that pinged the local tower and match them with cell service at the other arson sites around town to see if that developed any credible leads. Good I idea, I thought. These guys must watch as many CSI programs as I do.
From the vantage of driving by on Laurel Canyon the fire damage seemed minimal. There was a tarp over a small portion of the roof. Not too bad, I thought. I continued to walk up the hill, south on Rothdell. That’s when I saw the real extent of the damage. There was a little Miata toasted to a crisp, and a Ford Explorer with its back bumper dripping congealed rubber, like a Salvador Dali painting. The entire lower level and under the pinnings of the house on the south side was burnt to charcoal. That’s when I noticed that the foundation appeared to be made of rocks pulled from the local riverbed, just like those in the basement of the Country Canyon Store. Just then, our LAFD Engine 97 from Mulholland pulled up. They had been the first responders. The firefighter who directed the fire fight had attended arson investigation classes. Even the feds had been called in to deal with this barrage of arson attacks.
Back on the patio I started asking the crowd what they thought about the blaze. One woman actually said "Who’s Jim Morrison?" She wasn’t a fan of music that old. "OMG," I thought, “what a loss for her.” Others were abuzz; the new owners had finished faithfully restoring the house; they were devastated; would the city allow them to fix it? Heaven forbid such a monument be taken down, but remember that after a fire at the Houdini  mansion, the city tore it down without so much as a blink of an eye.


Cliffside Malibu




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