Lory Yazurlo, Owner of Defunct Pig Sanctuary, Is Killed In Van Fire on John Anderson Highway
FlaglerLive | September 22, 2016
Last Updated: Sept. 26
Lory Yazurlo, the 53-year-old owner of what was once a sprawling, 20-acre pig sanctuary in western Flagler, was killed early this morning as her van caught fire on John Anderson Highway, not far from her mother’s house. A paraplegic, Yazurlo was in the van, unable to get out.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s 911 dispatch center received a call from a witness just after 2 a.m. The witness was in the 3400 block of John Anderson Highway. He said the Ford van was fully engulfed in flames, “and that a person was in the vehicle,” a heavily censored sheriff’s incident report states.
The Ford van was in the southbound lane of the highway, and had reportedly had a tire change just four miles earlier, near State Road 100, with a towing service changing the tire. It was not initially clear what towing service it was. After the fire, the van was towed by John’s Towing of Bunnell. John Rogers, owner of John’s Towing, said: “We have no record of changing a tire last night.”
This evening, Yazurlo’s sister Leslie confirmed that a tire change had taken place earlier–but on County Road 302 around 11:30 p.m., by Roger’s Towing. Roger’s replaced a tire that had been barely a month old. “The tow driver told them the bearing was out on the wheel but it should be fine to get home,” Leslie Yazurlo said, also noting that her sister was with a friend who was driving the van.
On Sept. 26, J.C. Sarmento, president of Roger’s Towing, told FlaglerLive that Yazurlo’s account was inaccurate. He said Roger’s had charged the van’s tire somewhere on County Road 302, but that the van later pulled up at the Kangaroo gas station on State Road 100, seeing the Roger’s driver there, and complained to the driver that the van was making a noise. The Roger’s driver again jacked up the van at that gas station and told the driver–Yazurlo’s friend–that the van should not be driven.
“My driver told her not to drive it like that. He told them that it needs to be towed,” Sarmento said. “My driver never, ever told her that it was ok to drive it.” Rather, Sarmento said, the driver tried to get Yazurlo’s family to pick her up, but was not successful.
Lory herself had stayed in her wheelchair and was nearer the middle of the van, by the electric door that normally allows her to enter and exit the vehicle. But the door did not work after the fire broke out.
It’s not clear where or how the fire broke out. The left-rear tire was entirely missing after the van was towed. The three other tires were still on their rims, two of them apparently sustaining no damage, one of them sustaining severe damage. Lory’s friend had attempted to put out the flames in the rear of the van with some water that was at hand, was unsuccessful, tried to pull Lory out–Lory would eventually be found out of her wheelchair and between the two front seats–buit was also unsuccessful. She then ran to neighbors’ houses, knocking on their doors to seek help.
The fire was reported at 2:03 a.m. It was out at 2:20.
Yazurlo died just 700 yards from her mother’s house, where Yazurlo had been living.
For Charlene Yazurlo, Lory’s 74-year-old mother, this morning’s loss is the latest shock of many in the past years. Six years ago almost to the day–on Sept. 19, 2010–Yazurlo almost lost her grandson and another daughter, Leslie, in a shattering wreck on Old Kings Road that severed in half the car the two victims were driving in. Leslie Yazurlo was seriously hurt, but her son, Nate Truelove, then 7, was left in critical condition. Somehow, he survived, but needed long and expensive rehabilitative care. Charlene Yazurlo then led many fund-raising efforts on his family’s behalf as he slowly recovered. He eventually made great progress. Nate has been doing very well and is now in 8th grade at a Christian school in Volusia County.
In 2004, Nate’s 22-year-old father Dan was himself killed in a traffic crash: he had stopped with his wife on the side of I-95 in Volusia County to help another couple when a woman driving a suspended license crashed into him and the couple of he was helping, killing them all. Only his wife, Heather, survived. In 2000, Charlene Yazurlo lost her eldest daughter, who was killed by a drunk driver in a car crash. And in 2009, she lost another daughter, who died of an asthma attack.
While dealing with Nate’s ordeal in the fall of 2010, Charlene was helping her other daughter, Lory, contend with the controversies surrounding the 20-acre Pig Sanctuary in western Bunnell. Local health and county government authorities had been wrestling with Lory over the property, contending that it was not sanitary, while animal rights advocates rallied on Lory’s side. But in November 2010, the sanctuary went under a court-ordered quarantine, and later all 400 pigs on the property were gassed and removed.
This morning, Flagler County Fire Rescue’s Engine 92 reported to the scene of the van fire, as did the Palm Coast Fire Police. The sheriff’s office turned over the case to the state fire marshal’s office. An investigation is ongoing.