Santa Barbara- S County

Deadly Conception fire becomes the worst disaster in Santa Barbara history

Exceeds earthquakes and mudflows

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara historians have confirmed the Conception Dive boat fire is the worst loss of life ever in one single Santa Barbara incident.

It exceeds a city-transforming earthquake and a multi-boat Naval disaster. 

Maritime historian Robert Schwemmer (NOAA) and author/historian Neal Graffy have researched onshore and offshore tragedies, and nothing in their investigation has exceeded the 34 losses in the recent boat fire. 

Behind that is the loss of 23 lives in the Montecito mudflow on January 9, 2018 and the 23 sailors lost in the Honda Point Naval fleet crash in 1923.

The June 29, 1925 earthquake took 13 lives and also resulted in a redesign of Santa Barbara that is still present in downtown building architecture and in many other areas today. 

Below are some of the biggest disasters and loss of life incidents in Santa Barbara County history.  

Deaths Incident Date
34 Conception Dive Boat Fire

Sept. 1 2019

23 Montecito Debris Flow

Jan. 9, 2018

23 Honda Naval Point Disaster

Sept. 8, 1923

13 Santa Barbara Earthquake

June 29, 1925

8 Goleta Postal Shooting

Jan. 31, 2006

7 2014 Isla Vista killings

May 23, 2014

4 2001 Isla Vista car killings 

Feb. 23, 2001


Watch the Conception Vigil here:

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