Category Archives: Fires

Dec. 9, 1907: Black LAPD Officer Blames Firing on Racism, Rejoins Fire Department

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. Dec. 9, 1907 Los Angeles Mayor Harper has restored E.J. Bowen to his old job in the Fire Department after the rookie police officer was fired for allegedly being a coward—a charge … Continue reading

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December 1947: Powerful Blast Destroys House, Injures Fumigation Crew, Kills Neighbor

Before the introduction of Vikane, also known as Sulfuryl Fluoride, pesticide companies relied on hydrocyanic gas, a compound used to exterminate termites—and in California’s lethal gas chamber. That’s what a crew from Guarantee Fumigating Co. was pumping into the home … Continue reading

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Oct. 26, 1907: Women Clean Clothes With Gasoline, Die After Explosion and Fire

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. Oct. 26, 1907 Los Angeles Two women in the West Adams District were badly burned and expected to die after a bowl of gasoline they were using to clean a soiled dress … Continue reading

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Oct. 15, 1907: Fire Threatens Orpheum

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. Oct. 15, 1907 Los Angeles On a rainy night in Los Angeles, a fire broke out in the four-story brick office building at 235 S. Spring St. housing the Orpheum Theater and … Continue reading

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Coming Attractions: Celebrating the Reopening of the Central Library

The Los Angeles Central Library, courtesy of the library. Los Angeles is celebrating one of its great treasures – the Central Library – this weekend on the 25th anniversary of its reopening in October 1993, seven years after a devastating … Continue reading

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Black L.A., 1947: Sentinel Reports on City’s Segregated Fire Department

Engine Co. 30 in 1947, top, and via Google Street View. Oct. 9, 1947: The Sentinel reports on segregation in the Los Angeles Fire Department. Sentinel Publisher Leon H. Washington Jr. said that because of segregation, “there are a number … Continue reading

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Aug. 29, 1907: Engine Co. 20 Pranks Newlywed Firefighter

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. Aug. 29, 1907 Los Angeles Around Engine Co. 20 at Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Street, Lt. Samuel Dodd is something of a practical joker, so when he left on his honeymoon with … Continue reading

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Aug. 24, 1947: Golfers Play Through as Fire Destroys Clubhouse at Inglewood

  Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project. Fire which mushroomed early yesterday from the basement of the clubhouse at the Inglewood Country Club, 3424 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, left the building and … Continue reading

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Aug. 9, 1947: 2 Firefighters Die Fighting Big Tujunga Canyon Blaze

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project. Their names were Carl Joseph Masterson and Edward Jerome Duffy, who went by the nickname Harry. Carl was 40, born in Kansas and lived at 1032 … Continue reading

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Aug. 3, 1907: Gasoline Stove Explodes, Destroys House

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. Aug. 3, 1907 Los Angeles An enormous explosion shattered the night in the Dayton Heights neighborhood near what is now Virgil Avenue and Middlebury Street. “The shock of the explosion awakened people … Continue reading

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July 25, 1907: Fire Burns Foothill Bridge, Main Route From Monrovia to L.A.

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. July 25, 1907 Arcadia, Calif. Despite the efforts of 75 volunteer firefighters, a blaze rapidly consumed a 150-foot wooden bridge on Foothill Boulevard over the Santa Anita between Arcadia and Monrovia.

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July 17, 1907: Hollywood Organizes to Catch Serial Arsonist

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. July 17, 1907 Los Angeles A serial arsonist has been at work in Hollywood, setting six fires in the last three weeks. The community’s small volunteer fire department has been overwhelmed by … Continue reading

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June 27, 1907: New to America, Wife Mistakes Gasoline for Coffee in Making Husband’s Breakfast

Note: This is an encore post from 2006. June 27, 1907 Los Angeles Louise arrived in Los Angeles three months ago from Norway with her four young children. She met a man who worked in San Pedro (we only know … Continue reading

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Black L.A. 1947: Huge Blast Kills 17, Show Dangers of Industry Moving Into Black Neighborhoods

Feb. 20, 1947: An aerial view of the devastation from the explosion at the O’Connor Electroplating Corp.,  926 E. Pico Blvd.  Los Angeles Public Library Herald Examiner collection. The site of the O’Connor Electroplating explosion via Google Satellite View. The … Continue reading

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Found on EBay: Souvenir of Club Mecca, Site of Deadly 1957 Firebombing

A vendor has listed a cocktail napkin advertising four Los Angeles night spots, including the Mecca Cafe at 5841 S. Normandie Ave. Six people were killed when a man who had been thrown out of the club threw a five-gallon … Continue reading

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Jan. 4, 1947: Angry Sailor Sets Fire to Skid Row Hotel After Being Rolled

Note: This is a post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947Project. Jan. 4, 1947: Suppose, for a moment, that you are a 19-year-old mess cook second class stationed in San Pedro. Suppose further that while you are on leave … Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywoodland Survives 1961 Fire

California is suffering its worst fire fall season in decades, after the huge Santa Rosa-Sonoma conflagration a few months ago, and the blazes surrounding the Los Angeles area over the past week. The Skirball fire itself, which has burned around … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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1944 in Print — Hollywood Gossip by Louella Parsons, March 6, 1944

March 6, 1944 JACK BENNY HASN’T reached his place in the sun as a top comedian without good reason, and that is real ability. We were all reminded again of Jack’s spontaneous wit at the Academy Awards program. He was … Continue reading

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The Deadly Inferno

Note: I’m reposting an item for newer readers that I originally wrote in 2006 for the 1947project. Oct. 26, 1907: Two women in the West Adams District were badly burned and expected to die after a bowl of gasoline they … Continue reading

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