Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fire Trucks fight blaze along Mission Street

It was a little too exciting around here last night. A 3-alarm fire broke out at 8:45PM at the South Pasadena Public Works Department Yard at the corner of Orange Grove Avenue and Mission Street. Fire trucks from Alhambra, Arcadia, Glendale, Pasadena and San Marino assisted in knocking out the blaze by 10:15PM. A storage building basically burned to the ground, including a few city vehicles that were inside. The damage is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $1 million. The cause is under investigation.

As far as we know, there were no injuries. Thankfully, the historic Community Services building and beloved Orange Grove Park -- both right next door -- were spared.

I noticed a helicopter circling nearby around 9:00PM. That's not unusual for anywhere in Los Angeles. But, within minutes there were two more. I happened to be checking email and got a message from Mister Earl that while he was returning home from Trader Joes he had seen flames coming from what appeared to be the historic Community Services building.

I rushed to the scene so fast I forgot my tripod and I couldn't get close enough to use a flash, as evidenced by the blur above. I ran into Mister Earl and -- along with several dozen other South Pasadena residents and a cadre of journalists -- we watched as the firefighters tamped down the flames. Huge plumes of heavy smoke filled the skies for several hours. An entire city block was cordoned off, with police vehicles from both South Pas and San Marino. The Gold Line train was suspended until the fire was out. My house still smells like smoke even now.

That's enough excitement for one night.

My pictures are mostly blur, but you can see more pictures here and video here. Also, check out my overflow blog for an arty shot of Mister Earl and me at the scene.

23 comments:

Susan C said...

The bloggers and the blaze. My adrenalin is pumping just thinking about the evening.

Mister Earl said...

Nice pic, and great hot links!

My WV is "derswe," and it certainly is! We were der!

Dixie Jane said...

I love your colorful night shots....even when "Atlanta is burning." If I didn't know it was a fire I might think it was a carnival. I'm glad it was soon contained.

To Virginia ref. yesterday's post: Your word, voyeurography is great. Conjurs up all sorts of things.

Mister Earl said...

I have to say that last night Mr. Earl participated in a Glimpses of South Pasadena "ride-along!"

Judy Williams said...

Blur is so underrated. People want this tack sharp image all the time, but fail to see the beauty when the lines meld together and you can just concentrate on the glorious colors. Glad no one was hurt! YIKES - fires are so scary.

altadenahiker said...

I'm with Judy. I think the picture is rather stunning. Now, off to search for the photo of you & Earl.

Cafe Pasadena said...

I thought about you too, LA, when I saw the blaze. But, I figured you already knew about it and would be 1st to the scene, even before the authorities.

Yakpate said...

Like Dixie Jane, at first glance I thought this was a carnival shot, complete with a turquoise flare in the dark sky.

Am I the only one who felt shocked that such an event could happen in innocent South Pas? It made me sick to think that anything in this community that, thanks to L I know so well, could be harmed.

Trish said...

wow! excitement in SoPas does make for interesting late-night photo ops!

I have to agree that the blur gives it the surreal feeling one often feels while standing there watching a fire burn out of control.

Yak---not shocking---these things do happen, usually accidents. Scary, yes, that the place we love so could be harmed, but we can't protect everything. I am just glad SPFD and surrounding FD's were there to help keep this to a minimum.

Any time there is one copter in the sky over SoPas it usually means bad things. THREE and you know something is truly amiss. Excellent detective and photographic work! I'd recognize you and Mister Earl *anywhere* from that photo! ;-)

If I recall correctly, I think there was another fire at the service yard in the late 70's---but my memory of it is vague---and this reminded me of it...thinking, thinking, thinking...sigh. A friend's father worked there and lived but a few blocks away---which is why I recall hearing about it. Nope, brain fade.

So, that's enough excitement for a while---back to the quiet bedroom community SoPas usually is!

ben wideman said...

I thought about jumping on my bike and trying to snap a few shots last night when I heard. I'm glad to know you two had it covered!

-K- said...

I agree - I like the candy cane effect - impressionistic, not journalistic.

Margaret said...

It is a stunning shot of a very sad occurrence. I heard those helicopters for the longest time. I was wondering what they were up to.

Gina said...

I grew up in South Pas for the first 14 years of my life, so I am obviously still very attached. I came home from Youth Group last night and turned on the tv, and what do you suppose I saw? South Pasadena--on fire! I was terrified, as you can imagine. But I'm glad nothing major went down. :]

-Gina

Laurie said...

Hey kids,

I drove past the site of the fire today and it looks like a war zone. We're so fortunate those amazing firefighters put it out without it spreading to the other buildings or the convalescent hospital across the street. With yesterday's high winds, it could have been a major disaster. Let's here it for firefighters!!!

If Little Bit cooperates, I'll see if I can get any shots of what's left of the charred building.

Virginia said...

Lord I thought we were at the Magic Kingdom for a few minutes. I"m going to pay yo sistah to visit my blog and say over and over again how overrated tack sharp is. Long live the BBBLLLLUUURRR! It's a great shot. So MR. E got to participate in your late night shenanigans? Cool!
V

Sharon said...

Too bad about the fire but, I like the photo. When I first looked at it I thought it was a happy occasion instead of an emergency.

alex said...

I was wondering what all those choppers were hovering over last night! I couldn't see the blaze from my house in Monterey Hills, but I could definitely smell smoke. I agree with Laurie...glad the fire was contained and didn't destroy more of the Mission district.

Shanna said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Judy. I have spoken out - when given the chance - against the overly descriptive in the visual arts.
As I used to teach my drawing students; What you leave out is as important as what you put in.

Laurie said...

Hi all,

Welcome, Gina!

Thank you for all the thoughtful responses. Alex, like you I am so grateful that the fire wasn't worse, and so surprised that it didn't spread. Southern California residents know how quickly a fire can spread -- especially when wind is involved.

Thanks again for being here, gang. Until tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

the fire started when the construction crew of the south pas rose float were working. a spark hit something, and the building went up.

Anonymous said...

Sadly it doesn't take much for a fire to take off when you have an old wooden building with a lot of fuel for a fire to spread. This was probably one of those, sorry it happened, but it was not a matter of if, but when!

I understand that this building is very old and had NO sprinkler system.

I wonder why a city that requires fire sprinkler systems on all new or major construction sites, does not show a sign of how important it is by taking the policy one step farther and make all of their buildings sprinkler protected?

Laurie said...

Interesting, anon and anon. I haven't read an official report of the cause of the fire yet.

Andrew said...

This is really awesome pictures....take care..

Thank you..
___________________
Andrew
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