Abandoned “Red House” Goes Up In Flames


By Claire Donohue

Up in Flames: The popular teen hangout called the “Red House” caught fire on September 8.
photo by: Sammy Herdman

A two alarm fire was reported in an abandoned house adjacent to Tam on September 8.

Firefighters from Larkspur, Southern Marin, Ross Valley, San Rafael, Mill Valley and Tiburon responded to the blaze at 4 p.m. The fire was completely extinguished by 6 p.m. that evening. The abandoned structure is located at 42 Miller Ave overlooking Miller Avenue.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. “There are matches all over,” freshman Matt Kearney said. Matches, in addition to the trash and deteriorating structure all pose a huge fire danger during dry seasons.

The house (referred to as “the Red House” by many Tam students because of the red paint on the exterior) was a popular hideout for Tam students.“It’s a hangout place for some groups of kids,” Kearney said, “I know that people would go there to do drugs and drink.”

The boarded up windows and doors didn’t stop groups of high school students from congregating in the house on lunch breaks and after school.

Before the fire, the structure was accessible by an apartment complex driveway and a thin, forested pathway. The floorboards were disintegrating and the words “hail Satan” as well as numerous profanities were spray painted along the walls. A crumbling staircase lead to a top floor, resembling something of an attic, with low slanting ceilings. The wooden walls were covered in signatures and tags. The house is on private property, so trespassing on and around the area is illegal.

First Responders: Fire fighters from all over the county showed up to put out the fire.
photo by: Sammy Herdman

Many students don’t believe that the absence of this getaway spot will at all impact the activities that went on there. “I don’t think it will stop kids from smoking,” Kearney said. “It will just make kids find a new place, which will just cause problems for other neighborhoods.”

The loss of the “Red House” may not directly affect many students. “I think [the] Red House was a place where you could drink and smoke, but I don’t think it burning down will stop Tam students from continuing their[drinking and smoking],” sophomore Allie Boutwell said.