Arson confirmed in Nipomo farm worker housing fire

May 21, 2016

Nipomo Fire

An arsonist set the fire that destroyed a home being built to house farm workers in Nipomo, according to a press release from cal Fire.

On April 6 shortly before midnight, Cal Fire received a report of a fire on Mad Place in Nipomo. The home was one of seven houses being built to shelter 112 or more foreign nationals who would come from Latin America to work on a local strawberry farm.

The fire destroyed the home’s frames, which builders had recently laid. It also damaged a second home under construction. The homes are located in a residential neighborhood off Tefft Avenue near Highway 101 and the Dana Adobe.

Greg and Donna France’s plan to house a minimum of 112 migrant workers in seven homes located in a residential neighborhood has resulted in misinformation, anger and threats. The workers provided through the federal H-2A program will be primarily men from Mexico and Central America who will live 16 to a home for approximately nine months out of the year.

Neighbors, in the primarily Hispanic neighborhood, voiced concerns about the impact on their quality of life and home values if 112 men were crowded in seven homes.

Following the fire, the strawberry farmers scrapped their plans to place farm workers in the seven homes on Mad Place, because of safety concerns.

There is currently no information available to the media about a possible suspect. Even so, several political consultants have attempted to paint the incident as racially motivated.


I am disgusted that the people who live around these homes could have been harmed or lost their homes or personal property.

The farm worker issue is a separate issue. They should build barracks on the field worker land or set up trailers. That way they are close to work, rest, sanitation AND it will truly only be for the workers.


I don’t care where these people live or who burns down what to control where they live, I just want cheap strawberries.

Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,

While no one can condone burning down these houses, it is also true that the plan by Greg and Donna France (Mar Vista Berry) to house 116 workers in just a few houses in an established neighborhood displayed incredibly poor judgement. Greg France ought to be prosecuted for criminal stupidity.

Worse, This Big Ag grower, while trying to advance this scheme, is also a political appointee of ‘Sanctuary City’ politician Steve Lavignino. Lavignino supports liberal handouts and giveaways to illegal aliens, and the two are trying to replicate the same Big Ag scheme in San Luis Obispo County that they have perpetrated in Santa Barbara County.

I have heard rumors that the people who set this fire were actually involved in the farmworker union, and set the fire so that it would cause a backlash of sympathy for illegal aliens and the Big Ag multi-millionaire farmers.

The Big Ag farmers owe us all a higher standard.


This is wrong on so many levels. I am surprised the FBI and Justice Dept were not brought in as this was definitely a racist act. Trust me, we all have “things” in our neighborhoods that are not pleasant. There are students on their parties, neighbors who don’t like yard work and kept yards, neighbors who rent rooms, etc. These rentals would be monitored and these are hard working people. I hope whoever did this chokes on a strawberry!