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1966 fire destroys Lockheed Air Terminal control tower

1966 fire destroys Lockheed Air Terminal control tower

Feb. 13, 1966: Fire destroys the control tower and second floor of the administration building at Lockheed Air Terminal, now known as Bob Hope Airport.

This photo by Cal Montney appeared on Page One of the Feb. 14, 1966, Los Angeles Times. In an accompanying story, staff writers Pete John and Dick Mann reported:

Fire destroyed the two-story administration building and lofty control tower at Lockheed Air Terminal Sunday, causing $2 million in damage.

The 100-foot-high structure, once a showplace for millions of air travelers to the West Coast, was completely enveloped by flames above the ground floor.

About 150 persons were evacuated from the burning structure without injury.

Air traffic was diverted briefly to nearby Van Nuys Airport and to International Airport, but later a mobile ground control station was established and some operations returned to normal.

A spokesman for the terminal said the fire started about 3:30 p.m. when grease spilled from a frying vat in the kitchen of the Sky Room Restaurant on the second floor.

Flames spread rapidly through the second floor to the control tower and Federal Aviation Agency offices on the upper levels of the structure.

The blaze was contained after a battle of more than three hours by firemen from Burbank, Lockheed Aircraft Corp. and Los Angeles.

Smoke and flames, visible for miles throughout the San Fernando Valley, attracted more than 1,000 spectators.

Fire burned out the interior of the second floor of the administration building and the four-story Federal Aviation Agency control tower atop the structure. …

The terminal serves only two regular airlines, Pacific Southwest Air Lines and Pacific Air Lines, Inc., operating about 25 flights daily.

After it was opened in 1930, it became the center for Southern California air traffic, handling as many as 1.3 million passengers a year.

In 1946, four major airlines shifted their operations to newly opened International Airport. …

The rebuilt control tower and damaged terminal re-opened in 1967. Also in 1967, the Lockheed Air Terminal was renamed Hollywood-Burbank Airport. In 1978, the airport was renamed Burbank Glendale Pasadena Airport. In 2003, the airport was renamed Bob Hope Airport. Finally in 2016, the name changed again, now back to Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Dec. 18, 1986: A airliner takes off from Burbank Glendale Pasadena Airport while an air traffic controller watches from the tower. This photo was published in the April 25, 1987 Los Angeles Times.

Dec. 18, 1986: An airliner takes off from Burbank Glendale Pasadena Airport while an air traffic controller watches from the tower. This photo was published in the April 25, 1987, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Bob Carey / Los Angeles Times

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