La Jolla News Nuggets: Cottages; wildfire cameras; shopping fundraiser; Historical Society

Red Rest cottage burned in a fire early Oct. 26 on Coast Boulevard in La Jolla.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Cottages’ future weighed after fire

San Diego city officials say it is too soon to say what will happen to the historic Red Rest and Red Roost cottages near La Jolla Cove after a fire early Oct. 26 charred the Red Rest, burning through its roof, floor and walls.

But they want residents to know the community “is going to have ample opportunity to provide input on what happens with that
site,” said Scott Robinson, a spokesman with the Development Services Department.

La Jolla’s Red Roost and Red Rest cottages, considered The Village’s oldest structures, were seriously damaged by fire early Oct. 26.

The buildings, on Coast Boulevard, were built in 1894 and are among a handful of dwellings from La Jolla Cove’s early development as a seaside resort and art colony and were named national and local historic landmarks in the mid-1970s. But they have been in decay for decades. The property was acquired in 2018 by a group of investors in the hotel business.

Paul Benton, an architect representing the owners, said planning for rehabilitating the cottages had been underway long before the fire. While plans are not yet being made public, Benton said they center on a goal of creating something useful that “not only respects the heritage” of the site but is a “new center of attraction” for the area.

Architects working on the project met with city staff Nov. 6 and were told to return this week with detailed plans on how they intend to better secure and protect the structures, including protecting them from wind and rain. They also need to provide a timeline for their proposal, said Gary Geiler, assistant director of Development Services.

Investigators have not been able to determine a cause of the fire, said San Diego police Sgt. Rick Pechin, who is on the city’s Metro Arson Strike Team.

— Karen Kucher / The San Diego Union-Tribune

Camera system touted by fire officials

A backcountry observation network of more than 610 cameras across California is being called a “game-changer” by San Diego fire authorities.

The high-definition ALERTWildfire cameras — built by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Oregon — are able to pan, tilt, zoom and perform 360-degree sweeps about every two minutes with 12 frames per sweep. The cameras also provide 24-hour monitoring with near-infrared night vision capabilities.

Each camera can view as far as 60 miles on a clear day and 120 miles on a clear night. Fire agencies and utilities can access real-time data to confirm 911 calls, triangulate the location of a fire at its earliest stages and make decisions during and after wildfires.

“The cameras have been a game-changer for us in San Diego,” said Cal Fire San Diego County Unit Chief Tony Mecham. “It used to take 20 to 30 minutes for our fire ground commanders to get to fires and make decisions, and now with the cameras, we are reacting within seconds of the first report. That extra time is significant when it comes to moving resources or needing to start evacuations. It’s making a difference. I can’t even put into words how important those first few minutes are.”

J.McLaughlin to host shopping fundraiser for Athenaeum

The J.McLaughlin clothing store at 7880 Girard Ave. will host a “Sip & Shop” fundraiser to benefit La Jolla’s Athenaeum Music & Arts Library from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 18-20.

Complimentary gift wrap, curbside pickup and shipping are available. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will go to the Athenaeum.

For more information, contact store manager Natalie Aguirre at or (858) 731-9338.

Local Realtor Suzanne Sette named La Jolla Historical Society board president

Suzanne Sette, an agent with the La Jolla office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties since 1998, has been appointed president of the board of directors of the La Jolla Historical Society.

“I am honored to serve as board president for such an integral organization in our city,” Sette said. “The Historical Society has so much to offer that many locals may not be aware of ... from incredible, timely and thought-provoking art exhibitions [to] open-air movie nights to an upcoming Zoom talk focusing on race relations in San Diego. It is a great resource for everyone in our wonderful region, and most of the events are free.”

Sette also is involved in volunteer work (most recently at the election polls) and has served six years each in the National Charity League and Las Patronas.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff