Exposures Protected As Theater Burns in Hollywood

Exposures Protected As Theater Burns in Hollywood

Smoke rises above doomed theater in Hollywood as Los Angeles City fire fighters press attack with aerial equipment. At left is Squrt of Wagon 27 in operation. Ladder 27 is in the right foreground and Ladder 20 is operating a pipe in the right background. The Becker carpet store is to the right of the Star Theater

Photo by Phil Larry.

An old Hollywood theater was virtually destroyed hut Los Angeles City firemen saved adjacent buildings during a greater alarm fire.

The alarm for a fire at the Star Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, just west of Western Avenue, was received at 6:09 a.m. December 1 and the operations control division dispatched Engine 82 and Heavy Task Force 27 (three engines, one with a Snorkel, and a 100-foot aerial), Task Force 35 and Chief Dale Booth of Battalion 5.

Roof ventilation ordered

On arrival, Booth ordered Task Force 27 to the roof for ventilat ion and crews from Engine 82 and TF 35 into the theater with hand lines to find and attack the fire.

“There was no visible fire when we arrived,” the chief recalled, “only heavy black smoke boiling up from the roof.”

One attack unit found fire in the lobby, which it attacked with 1 1/2-inch lines and they had it “semi-knocked down.”

“Then the crew realized the fire had come from the roof area and when ventilation took place, we immediately realized we had a stubborn, concealed attic fire.” the chief said.

Both called for a second alarm, which brought in Task Force 29 while it was moving north on Western Avenue to Station 27. TF 29 has a Squrt on one of its two engines.

The chief ordered the Squrt to operate on the east side of the theater, Truck 27 to use its ladder pipe on the west side, and Wagon 27, with an elevating platform, to gain access to the roof of the Becker Carpet Co., the western exposure.

Later alarms brought Task Forces 20, 10, 58, Heavy Task Force 61, Engine 41 and Engine 52, which manned Salvage 82 for damage protection in the Becker carpet store.

Truck 20 was positioned in a parking area at the southwest corner of the fire with a ladder pipe, and five portable monitors were positioned around the fire. Access from the rear was limited.

Inside attack halted

When Booth realized the entire roof was involved, he ordered all men out of the theater and concentrated on protecting the east and west exposures.

“There was very little damage in the apartment on the east and some minor water damage to the carpet store,” he said.

Because of the use of so many heavy appliances, it was necessary for Engine 61 to lay 1500 feet of additional hose.

Division I Commander D. F. Cully was in overall command.

Traffic on busy Hollywood Boulevard was blocked for several hours. The fire was contained in one hour.

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