The Petty Archives
  • 1987-05-19_Gainesville-Sun

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Petty's house destroyed
Gainesville Sun - May 19, 1987

ARSON RULED CAUSE OF BLAZE. The Los Angeles Fire Department has ruled that arson caused a fire that destroyed the Encino home of rocker singer and Gainesville native Tom Petty Sunday morning.

Petty, his wife Jane, their 5-year-old daughter Kim, and housekeeper Helen Bianchi escaped safely shortly after the blaze was discovered about 9 a.m.

Both Jane Petty and Bianchi are former Gainesville residents.

Fire Department officials said a flammable liquid was discovered at the rear of the two-story wood-frame house, suggesting that the fire was deliberately set.

The estimated damage to the house and contents was $1 million.

Firefighters removed some contents undamaged, including many of the guitars and other musical equipment kept in Petty's basement recording studio.

Petty and several friends rescued the master tapes for all eight of the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers albums, three of which have sold more than a million copies.