Tons of roasted coffee
Nov. 29, 1928: Los Angeles firefighters climb a ladder to fight a blaze on the top floor of the Newmark Bros. building.
This image, lead art on the next morning’s Times local section front, accompanied an article that reported:
Fire that burst with the force of an explosion through the top floor of the six-story building occupied by Newmark Brothers, coffee importers, at 312 East First Street, shortly before 3 p.m. yesterday, developed into a spectacular blaze that caused damage estimated in excess of $100,000.
Raging through roasted coffee chaff and about machinery the fire gained considerable headway before the fire department, working under the handicap of a five story climb, was able to bring it under control.
Approximately 700 150-pound bags of coffee were destroyed by the fire and a large amount damaged by water it is estimated by S.M. Newmark, member of the Newmark Brothers and A.P. Lazarus, secretary-treasurer of the company. Newmark placed the stock and fixture damage at $75,000.
[Huge] clouds of billowing smoke and flame belched from the top story of the building, according to witnesses, when the fire began, apparently in the roasting room.
… A large crowd that gathered to watch the fire was rewarded by an interesting exhibition of fire-fighting by four engine companies, four truck companies and three salvage companies under Battalion Chief Wetherell. The firemen were forced to run ladders from the ground to the top of the building to get their hoses in position to play on the flames. They had the fire under control in less than half an hour.
Nov. 29, 1928: A street-level view of the Newmark Bros. building fire in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA
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