1957 Club Mecca Firebombing in South L.A. Kills 6

5841 S. Normandie, the site of the Club Mecca bombing, as photographed in 2007.


April 7, 1957, the Los Angeles Times publishes an extra on the Club Mecca firebombing.


The tragic warehouse fire in Oakland, which has killed at least 24 people, evokes memories of the 1957 firebombing of the Club Mecca, at 5841 S. Normandie.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about the firebombing in 2007 when I was at the Los Angeles Times.

They were a six-pack of juiceheads, daddy-o. Human-torched by lowlifes that wildfired the imagination of young, L.A. bike-roaming James Ellroy, demon dogging the pulp novel city in type-O scarlet and memory napalm. Six juiceheads: That’s how they’re cast in our film noir tale about one of the biggest Los Angeles crimes of the 1950s. But it’s not that easy. History never is.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1957, Fires, Food and Drink and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 1957 Club Mecca Firebombing in South L.A. Kills 6

  1. Howard Decker says:

    I remember the Club Mecca fire all too well. As a beginner reporter for the LA Examiner, working the midnight to 8 a.m. shift, I was on the scene, covering the cowardly firebombing of innocent people. Something like that, you never forget.


  2. Laura M. Fleming says:

    I was dating Barbara’s recently divorced husband, Jerry Spinelli, at the time of this tragedy. I talked to Barbara several times over the next few years and was always impressed over her lack of self pity and her optimistic attitude. I think this was in part due to the strong support she received from Mr. Fenton, whom she later married.


  3. Dennis says:

    I was seven years old when this happened. I lived on 59th Place between Denker Avenue and Harvard Blvd. My neighbor who we called “Unc” was caught in the fire. He told us that the doors had been locked so no one could get out but somehow he managed to help people escape. This guy was a WW2 Veteran and one hell of a man. We all looked up to him.


    • Dale says:

      I was 6 years old when this happened. My mother, father and I were driving home from my Dad’s bowling night, when my parents saw the flames from the club. We parked about a block away and walked up as close as possible. I remember a lady lying on the sidewalk moaning from the pain of being burned. I will remember this for the rest of my life.


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