On October 14, 1985, a fire swept through the Ojai Valley destroying all the buildings at Meher Mount and everything in them. The October 14 date is close to the start date of Avatar Meher Baba's New Life in India on October 16, 1949. Hence, the fire at Meher Mount has come to be known as the New Life Fire.
By Larry Pesta
I once traveled to Meher Mount for a work party after the fire. It was pouring rain.
I parked my rent-a-car near the work site. Agnes Baron [then caretaker of Meher Mount] jumped into the car.
We talked for four hours or more while everyone worked their asses off cleaning up the ruins in the pouring rain. It was the biggest mess I had ever seen.
At the end of the work session and still in the car with Agnes, she said, "You know, they are all going to be mad at you for not working." I said, "I can imagine."
She said, "That's fine. Let them be mad. You served your purpose here. Your purpose was to keep me company."