Malibu Beach, CA Explosion & Fire, Dec 1930

"Movie Stars" Homes Burn After Blast

Damage at Malibu Beach Expected to Total $800,000.

Los Angeles, Cal., Dec. 15. (AP).-Fashionable Malibu Beach, Arcadia of film stars and wealthy business and professional folk, was shaken by a mysterious blast and ravaged by fire Monday. Eighteen residences as well as many expensive automobiles were destroyed.

In the ravaging flames that swept from one end of the stylish colony to the other, creating an ashy havoc with damage estimated by officials at more than $800,000, the homes of many leading film stars and other Hollywood celebrities were reduced to tinder. The stars themselves, with a long list of week-end guests, were driven into the biting morning cold.

Shortly after 2:30 a.m. a terrific explosion awakened the sleeping residents along the beach. The blast occurred near the home of George de Sylva, noted song writer.

Flames Immediately.

The home of De Sylva became a mass of flames almost immediately, and in a few minutes an adjoining residence roared as a brisk north wind fanned the flames.

From house to house the flames spread and out of the dwellings ran panic-stricken occupants, to huddle, shivering in scanty night clothing as the cold north wind sought them out.

Braving the cold and danger, the beach residents joined the fire fighters from three near-by county stations. Later the Santa Monica fire department apparatus fought the blaze.

After almost three hours of futile effort the wind shifted, affording the weary fighters an opportunity to halt the fire.

Sand Clogs Hose.

Los Angeles County officials stated the great headway made by the blaze was due to fire fighters being compelled to draw water by suction from the ocean and inlets, clogging hose with sand. Efforts have been under way for a year, they said, to have water pumped to the beach colony for fire fighting purposes.

Among the stars and other celebrities whose homes and automobiles were destroyed are Louise Fazenda, Marie Prevost, Allen Dwan, George De Sylva, James Malcolm Taylor and Oliver C. Marsh.

Other homes destroyed included those of Frank Fay, Broadway comedian; A.L. Rockett, film producer; Leo McCarey, a former boxing promoter and now a film director, and Ben Hendricks Jr., actor.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 16 Dec 1930