No sooner had the plans been approved when in May 1985, an arson fire severely damaged the structure. The walls still stood, but the building was gutted. Sadly, Alson Clark’s painting was lost. While city officials expressed uncertainty about whether or not funds would be available to reconstruct La Casita after the fire, Tim Andersen, head of Pasadena’s Cultural Heritage Commission at the time said, “no matter what the extent of the damages turns out to be, La Casita will not be demolished.” Fire insurance paid for much of the restoration and donations came from community members. Mrs. John Barber who hosted the bazaar in 1933 to raise funds to build La Casita, sent a check for $5,000.00 to help rebuild it.
It would take nearly $150,000.00 to repair the building that was built and furnished with $3,500.00. Momentum for the project continued due to the untiring effort of Lisa Clement. She convened the La Casita Restoration Committee (Befu and Stewart), to oversee repairs in accordance with Secretary of the Interior Standards. The Committee included members of the Pasadena Garden Club, William Ellinger III, AIA, from the Planning Commission, and Peggy Stewart of both the Pasadena Garden Club and Cultural Heritage Commission. Local architect, Conrad Buff III, sat on the Committee and donated design services.
Salvaged materials from the original structure were used in reconstruction including some of the wood from the 1932 Olympic Velodrome. The kitchen and bathroom were upgraded and fire prevention measures were installed.