SoCal Inferno Hits Coin-Op Folks


Photographer and amusement industry mainstay Jack Mann took this photo as he, his family and neighbors desperately sprayed water on their homes, watching the approaching fire from Ventura, Calif. Jack was lucky, and crews were able to battle the fire and keep it from burning his home. Sadly, not everyone was as fortunate as Mann and his neighbors. Below is what’s left of former tradester Judy Shannon’s home. At press time, the Thomas Fire was only 10 percent contained.

As if the hurricanes weren’t enough to test the grit of industry people, the spate of wild fires scorching well over 130,000 acres of Southern California have taken their toll as well. Judy Shannon, formerly of King Plush, lost her home in the city of Ventura, but she and offspring Sierra and Canyon, got out in time to tell the tale.


“We’d spent the night at a hotel, only to return home to find ashes instead of our house,” she advised. “What we’re missing most, I guess, is our collection of hand-crafted items that went up in smoke like everything else. I’ve always yearned for a minimalist life, but never expected it to be handed it this way. Best news, obviously, is that the family is still standing,” she added.

Judy Shannon’s children Sierra and Canyon with all they were able to take while evacuating.

Jack Mann, owner of the Toy Barn prize supplier, is also a Ventura resident, and one of the luckier ones whose home survived the inferno. “Sometime after midnight, my wife Gina and my son Conner and I got up to find the entire mountain to the east of our house in flames… flames that were maybe only 60 feet away! We gathered up family, dogs, a few paintings, photos, and drove all our cars to a parking lot about a mile away,” Jack said.


“Conner and I then went back to fight the fire and save the house. We could see neighbors with hoses on their roofs facing a 100-foot wall of fire. The heat and smoke were intense. We were up all night along with the firemen and successfully fought the blaze. But, we weren’t so fortunate back in 1993 when we got burned out in the Laguna Beach flash fire that destroyed ours, and 400 other homes,” he stated. “I never wanted to go through that again,” he added.

A happy Dan Wadkins and Romero Jones at the Ventura County Amusement route tell us all locations have survived the fire thus far, though at the time we put this newsletter out, he was worried about the iconic town of Ojai which was nearly surrounded by flames. They did suffer some occasional power outages caused by the holocaust which made for a bit of trouble when games would shut down and then fire back up. Other than that, all’s good at VCA.

As this news was being prepped, a new fire was hitting the northern part of San Diego County with a number of homes already lost. We join many in hoping and praying all the active blazes get knocked down without further loss and that the winds that are fanning the flames and spreading embers finally diminish. As you might tell, the RePlay people haven’t suffered anything from all this, including Eddie Adlum’s home and avocado orchard up in the Santa Rosa Valley fire zone.


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