Los Angeles, CA Hotel Destroyed by Fire, Jan 1913
EXPLOSION IS CAUSE OF FIRE.
FIRE CHIEF MAY LOSE SIGHT AS RESULT OF FIGHTING THE FLAMES.
TURPENTINE IN HOTEL BASEMENT FILLS PLACE WITH SMOKE AND FLAMES.
Los Angeles, Jan. 24 -- Fire Chief ARCHIE ELEY, who was injured last night in an explosion of turpentine in the basement of the burning Brennan Hotel building, recovered consciousness today. He was found to have suffered severe injuries to his eyes, and to be threatened with pneumonia from the large amount of smoke inhaled. Physicians said they could not state the extent of the fire chief's injuries, but declared they hoped to be able to save his sight.
The eight firemen injured at the same time were reported improving today.
The fire had been burning since early in the afternoon and much of the apparatus had been ordered back to the various stations when the explosion occurred and another general alarm was sent in.
It had been reported to the firemen that 40 cases of turpentine were stored in the basement underneath the wallpaper and paint establishment where the fire started. The owner of the store denied this and a personal investigation was made by Chief ELEY and eight of his men.
The explosion shattered the front of the building and caused a section of the floor to fall on the firemen. Four of them, including the chief, were carried unconscious from the basement.
Street car and interurban traffic to many sections of the city and near-by towns was nearly completely tied up during the afternoon and evening.
The fire started in a paint establishment on Main street, between Fifth and Sixth, and did damage estimated at $100,000. Although controlled early, the fire burned briskly for several hours, and tonight several engines were still pumping water into the building.
All of the occupants of the Brennan Hotel, a five-story building, which was badly damaged, had warning in time to escape, but many of them left their belongings in the building.
There were a number of thrilling rescues during the progress of the fire, which thousands of spectators cheered. The rescues were replete with dramatic incidents, as moving picture actors from two companies, which were early on the job, were the principals.
A police lieutenant, who arrived on the scene just as a movie hero was carrying an apparently unconscious girl from the second-story of the hotel, after one look at the evidently overcome hero, forcibly took possession of the rescued one, thereby necessitating a repetition of the rescue scene.
Oakland Tribune California 1913-01-24