Los Angeles, CA Times Building Explosion and Fire, Oct 1910
EXPLOSION AND FIRE DESTROY L. A. TIMES BUILDING; 50 DEAD
FIGURES SEEN FALLING BACK FROM WINDOWS INTO CAULDRON OF FIRE
Exact Number of Dead Is Unknown - Flames Envelop Building Instantly After Explosion of Unknown Cause - Loss $500,000.
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1. -- The building occupied by the Times Publishing Company was destroyed by fire this morning and there is a heavy death list, estimated as high as fifty.
The fire was preceded by an explosion, and immediately the building was enveloped in flames. This explosion occurred on the second floor of an addition to the old building. The old part is of three floors. Within a few seconds from the time of the explosion the entire building was a fiery furnace. Crowds that gathered early say they saw many men fall back from the windows into the flames. Others leaped and were injured.
The editorial rooms were on the third floor, but it is believed the greater part of the men on this floor escaped death.
THOMAS P. SMITH, "ad." compositor, working on the second floor when the explosion occurred, gives the following version:
"There were at least fifty men at work on my floor. I believe that half of this number may not have escaped. I with others, rushed for the street immediately, and we then saw the whole building in flames."
The entire building was gutted at 1:45, and but two walls were standing. The fire department now has the situation well in hand, and the flames will probably not spread further.
In addition to the complete plant of the Times, a large jobbing and commercial plant, the building contained the plant of the American Engraving Company. The property loss is estimated at $500,000.
Men who were the first on the scene, say there were three distinct explosions. The first seemed to be the heaviest and occurred on the second floor, which is used as the composing room. The Times plant was run by electricity throughout, and as far as is known there was no steam boiler of any kind in the building.
The estimates of the loss of life are between 25 and 100. The fire followed an explosion in the rear of the building at 1 o'clock. The flames followed so quickly that those in the building had little chance to escape. Many leaped from the windows and were severely injured. The building burned with incredible rapidity and before those awakened by the explosion or at work on near-by structures could reach the streets, the building was a mass of flames.
The force of the explosion was exerted on the mechanical departments of the paper and most of the dead and injured were members of those departments. At 2 o'clock, twenty-two injured had been taken to the receiving hospital.
Managing Editor HARRY E. ANDREWS, at 2 o'clock this morning said:
"The Times building was destroyed by dynamite this morning by the enemies of industrial freedom. The Times itself cannot be destroyed. It will soon be reissued from its auxiliary plant and will fight its battles to the end."
"The horror of the lose of life and maiming of men precludes a further statement at this hour."
"General OTIS, owner of the Times, will arrive home from Mexico this afternoon."
The Fresno Bee California 1910-10-01
WIDESPREAD DYNAMITE PLOT IS REVEALED IN LOS ANGELES
Times Building Blown Up; Bombs for Gen. Otis and Zeehandelaar
DEATH LIST IN DISASTER SHOWS SCORE LOST WITH MANY SERIOUSLY INJURED.
Los Angeles Council Sets Aside $25,000 for Solution of Mystery - Otis Blames Unions; Leaders Say"No" -- Building Trades Offer Reward - Clues Unearthed by Police.
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1. -- A tremendous explosion at 1:10 this morning, resulting within two hours in the total destruction of the six-story building occupied by the Los Angeles Times, the almost certain loss of nineteen lives, the injury of more than a score of others and the financial loss of half a million dollars, followed by the finding of a dynamite bomb at 9:15 a. m. under the residence of G. J. ZEEHANDELAAR, secretary of the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association, and of another late in the day under a window of the residence of General HARRISON GRAY OTIS, editor-in-chief of the Times, have kept this city in a ferment of excitement and made this day one of sensational tragic events.
Within a minute after the explosion in the Times office, the instantaneous ignition of gas from the pipes throughout the building caused flames to dart from a hundred windows and leap far above the roof. Its force was greatest in the heart of the building, directly under the composing room. The men working there were thrown to the ground and the lino-type machines tumbled over like a house of cards.
There were 115 employees in the building at the time, half a hundred others having left within a half hour before with the winding up of the work for the first edition. The scenes that followed were indescribable. Men cut off from ordinary exits by flames darting from every side, rushed hither and thither looking for means of escape and were forced finally to jump from second and third story windows to the street below. Most of the serious injuries were the results of these leaps for life.
Even this opportunity of escape was denied to those who are numbered among the missing, most of whom are buried under the ruins. They died crushed to death under crumbling walls or suffocated by the smoke and flames.
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