Blaze Erupts at City Hall Fundraiser

Times Staff Writers

A small fire erupted at Los Angeles City Hall on Saturday night during a fireworks display on the south lawn that was part of a black-tie fundraiser for historic preservation projects, authorities said.

The blaze broke out about 9 p.m. during the fireworks show at the gala, which was attended by about 200 people, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“It appeared one of the fireworks got into the ninth floor, causing the sprinklers to act,” said Assistant Fire Chief Michael Fulmis.

Firefighters quickly shut off the sprinklers, but not before water flooded parts of the ninth, eighth and seventh floors, he said. No injuries were reported.


The fireworks were set off near a stand of trees at the south end of City Hall near 1st and Spring streets.

During the five-minute display, several witnesses said they saw fireworks hit windows and a palm tree before the blaze erupted. Firefighters quickly extinguished it.

“One of them went rocketing right through one of the windows. When it hit the glass, it exploded,” said Deborah Thomas. “Can’t have a good time without a little excitement.”

Several engines responded, but the fire did not disrupt the festivities, which included a live band.

Project Restore, a nonprofit organization, sponsored the event. One of its most notable projects was the restoration of City Hall, built in 1927.