Marysville, CA Downtown District Fire, July 1926

Theater Before Fire

MARYSVILLE FIRE PROBE UNDER WAY.

DAMAGE IN BLAZE THAT MENACED ENTIRE DOWNTOWN DISTRICT IS PLACED AT $250,000; BRAVERY SEEN.

Marysville, July 29. -- Scores of Marysville residents today attribute their escape from the $250,000 fire that destroyed National theater and Elks building to the cool conduct of these three members of the theater staff:
AL BURT, stage manager, who, following the discovery of the fire, walked out on the stage with the calm announcement to the 800 patrons that the building was afire and that they should leave quietly.
HARVEY SPILLMAN, film operator, who continued to project the picture until leaving the projecting room just before an explosion and who escaped through a window and down a drain pipe when flames shut off other exits.
HARRY BROBST, organist, who played until the last patron left the house.
An official investigation will be started today of the fire of undetermined origin, it was announced by fire officials.
One angle of the official investigation today will be an attempt to determine why firemen were without water supply for twenty minutes after the alarm sounded, being compelled to use chemicals and water taken from a nearby cistern. It is believed the Elks building could have been saved had an ample supply of water been available.
Breaking out in the rear of the National theater the blaze sent 800 patrons scurrying to safety. The theater, however, was cleared in good order.
From the theater the flames spread to the Elks temple, a five story building, in which was located the mortuary of LIPP and SULLIVAN, undertakers. Two bodies taken by firemen from the undertaking establishment where they were being prepared for burial gave rise to the erroneous report that several lives had been lost in the blaze.
While the fire was still in progress, President L. R. CROOK, of the National theaters' chain, announced from Los Angeles by telephone that a new $250,000 theater would be built by the company. The old one was valued at $90,000.

Oakland Tribune California 1926-07-29