Santa Monica, CA Forest Fire, Nov 1938

Owner Looking At The Ruins


Los Angeles, Nov. 23 -- (AP) -- Forest fires, the worst in the history of southern California, blazed out of control on widely separated fronts in three counties tonight, leaving heavy damage and possible death in the Topanga canyon region north of Santa Monica and in the San Bernardino mountains.
Palatial homes of prominent motion picture personages were burned in the Topanga canyon fires, which fingered out before a 45-mile wind on four fronts, threatening heavily populated communities cut off from communication.
1,000 Fight Fire.
More than a thousand fire fighters were in that region alone as the tinder-dry brush and timber carried the flames over hundreds of homes.
A blaze originating on Strawberry peak, between the Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear resorts, swept down the mountainside to burn the extensive Arrowhead Springs hotel, recently purchased by JOSEPH M. SCHENCK, movie magnate.
No effort was made to save the million-dollar resort, famous for its baths and the spring training residence in recent years of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The RITZ brothers, motion picture stars, were among the guests who rushed to safety when the flames swept in. Nearby homes and a mountainside night club were enveloped.
Dix Home Destroyed.
Among the expensive homes in the mountains known to have burned were those of RICHARD DIX, actor, and SAM WOODS and FRANK LLOYD, film directors.
Authorities could not say how the Fernwood community in the Topanga canyon area fared.
CHARLES DICE, Santa Monica police chief, said at least 200 homes were destroyed above Santa Monica alone.
In the Arrowhead Springs hotel region 10 persons were missing.
Authorities reported that in some sections stampeding cattle and wild life mingled with fleeing residents.
Three other fires were raging through the San Bernardino mountains tonight and a brush fire of comparatively small importance was burning in Ventura county.

The Times Recorder Zanesville Ohio 1938-11-23