were thrilling rescues of women in grave peril, but the women were moving picture actresses and the rescuers were actors with terra cotta complexions and black, cornice-like eyebrows. The “movies” man was on hand within half an hour of the time the fire started, with camera and company, and seizing a time when the lad- ders in front were not in use, the brave rescuers carried limp women down them, while the cam- eraman worked his crank and shouted hoarse directions. So realistic was all this that a po- liceman was deceived and, rushing forward, seized an apparently unconscious girl from the arms of an actor and was rushing to an am- bulance with her when her friends effected a genuine rescue.

Such was and is the story of one of the

great fires Los Angeles firemen have fought. One cannot help but observe how fire reporting has changed!!

THIRTY FIREMEN OVERCOME Thirty firemen were overcome tempo- rarily by the gas inside the building. Some of them were revived and returned to their work. Some were taken to hospitals for treatment. A second and then a third alarm brought all the downtown fire apparatus to the scene. Twen- ty lines of hose poured their streams into the

building from Main Street, from the alley in the rear and from the roofs of the buildings across the alley. Four engines, the tower, two hook and ladder trucks and three of four hose wagons were grouped at the Main street front. The firemen fought against great odds, as the combustible stock of the paint store, in the rear of which the fire started, blazed fiercely in spite of the torrents of water that were poured upon it. The flames swept up an air shaft and spread to every floor of the hotel, and down into the basement, where most of the paints and oils were stored. Embers fell all about the block, but with the compe- tent force and equipment Chief Eley had brought to the contest, there was at no time any real danger of the fire spreading beyond the four walls. The most tense period of the

fight came at a time when thousands of watchers thought the spectacle was ended. A sullen roar came from the basement, the muffled report of an explosion, presumably of tur- pentine casks. Lieutenant J. Smith, R. Conklin and Ed Welte of Engine Company No.24 were entering the basement and they were hurled back to the street by the force of the explosion. On the ground floor a group of firemen were working desperately when an avalanche of wall-paper, jarred from shelves by the explosion, came tumbling down upon them.

The Gorter Water Tower with an elevated stream into the hotel. There were no ladder pipes then. You can see this LAFD icon at the Hollywood museum.

FIVE BURIED UNDER DEBRIS Captain C.F. Blackwell, Howard Dyer and Roy King of Hose Company 23, William Shiller of Engine Company No.7, and J.F. Cor- neaugh of Truck Company 1 were buried under the debris and were immediately in danger of suffocation, their situation being all the more critical because the room was thick with smoke and gases. A score of their comrades rushed in and dug frantically till all of them were rescued and carried out, to be hurried away to the Re- ceiving Hospital.


Chief Eley was several

weeks before return- ing to duty, although his injuries constantly bothered him.

That The hotel with fire through the roof. 54 • March 2017

spring he took a leave of absence and went to a Lake Elsinore re- sort to recuperate. He was there two months when he suffered a major relapse and was near death. Fire Com-

The steamers are pumping into a myriad of hose lines and creating a lot of smoke themselves slightly obliter- ating the Gorter Water Tower in the background.

The firemen appear to be getting a handle on the fire.

missioner A.F. Frankenstein and Chief Eley’s physician, Dr. Arthur D. Houghton raced to Riverside, borrowed an ambulance and a driver and with siren and red light, rushed Chief Eley 100 miles to Good Samaritan Hospital where he recovered and resumed work. The day after the Brennan Hotel fire

the Los Angeles Examiner editorialized in sup- port of a proposed charter amendment creat- ing a better pension system for firefighters and police: “Thousands saw the heroic men enter the inferno into which their duty called them. Shortly after … word went whispering through the watching throngs that they were lost and … pity stirred all hearts as their unconscious forms were being stumblingly brought forth by their no less heroic fellows. Every now and then some … firemen receive medals as pub- lic recognition of conspicuous acts of heroism. The recognition is little enough … The hero is soon forgotten by the many. Only his family knows what the performance of his duty has cost him; the aches and pains, the failing eyes, the strained vitals. Today the city is ringing with the news of the fire, its desperate character, the deadliness of the developed fumes, the brav- ery of the firemen; yet 30 days from now, who will remember those names, who will think of the men who, at the time, will be suffering in silence from the aftereffects of yesterday’s injuries?” The editorial concluded by implor- ing voters to approve the charter amendment.

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