Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive


The Los Angeles Pacific Railroad Depot Fire
4th Street between Hill & Broadway

November 15, 1908

Story from the Los Angeles Express of November 16, 1908; 
The Broadway Department Store is the structure to the left of the gutted Los Angeles Pacific Building.


Flames broke out in the basement of the Los Angeles Pacific building at 314 W. Fourth St., adjoining the Broadway Department Store, at 2 o’clock this afternoon and threatened serious loss. . . .

The fire is believed to have had its origin in the rear of the basement, under the Sunset Bakery, at 320 W. 4th St. . . .

Fourth Street from Broadway to Hill was speedily roped off to keep the crowds back, and Broadway . . . became a mass of humanity within a few minutes.

. . . great volumes of smoke could be seen rolling up over the Broadway Department Store, creating the impression that it was that great store which was burning. . . .

So quickly did the flames spread in the

lower portions of the Los Angeles Pacific Building that the clerks and stenographers of the railway company in the offices on the second floor could not reach safety by the stairway or elevator.

Fifteen girls and women were taken from the windows of the second floor with ladders.

At 2:30 the fire had become so dangerous that it was thought best to empty the Broadway Department Store, which adjoins the burning building on the east. . . .

There was great confusion in the . . . store, the girls being rushed out of offices in the rear of the building, which was threatened by the fire and full of smoke.

The men clerks were of great assistance, carrying out a good portion of the books

and a great amount of inflammable material. The money in the safe was rushed out. . . .

The Broadway clerks took the fire apparatus of that establishment and used it valiantly to help save the adjoining building.

The building was erected about eight years ago. It is owned by Clark & Sherman. General Sherman said that about $100,000 was invested in the building and, while he is not able to state the exact amount of insurance, his opinion is that his policies cover half the value.

The clouds of smoke that rolled from the building did not begin to compare in size with the cloud of spectators which sought to reach the scene of the fire. . . .



Courtesy: Mrs. Geo. M.  Walker

Courtesy: Porter's Collection

Battery of Water Tower 1
in operation.

Courtesy: Mrs. Geo. M. Walker

Courtesy: Mrs. Geo. M. Walker

Courtesy: Mrs. Geo. M. Walker

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