Fire at The Magic Castle?

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Andrew Pinard
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Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby Andrew Pinard » October 31st, 2011, 4:10 pm

D.J. Grothe (Executive Director, JREF) just posted on Twitter that there was smoke pouring out of The Castle and fire trucks in the vicinity (he included a picture as well). Is there anything to this?

<img>http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/383185_10150467980270856_543210855_10738530_1441217152_n.jpg</img>
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houdini's ghost
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The Magic Castle is on fire. Fire apparently started in attic.

Postby houdini's ghost » October 31st, 2011, 4:12 pm

Firefighters have been converging on the Castle.

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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby El Harvey Oswald » October 31st, 2011, 4:29 pm

yes; though smoke, not fire, is "pouring out"

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Re: The Magic Castle is on fire. Fire apparently started in attic.

Postby Joe Pecore » October 31st, 2011, 4:30 pm

Oh no.

Here is a video someone just put up on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... GSSQDlNwB0

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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby Ruben Padilla » October 31st, 2011, 4:33 pm

Received word that it appears to be in the attic. But yes, all signs point to a fire.

http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/10/31/296 ... stle-fire/
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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby Dustin Stinett » October 31st, 2011, 4:55 pm


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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby JohnCox » October 31st, 2011, 5:01 pm

This happened 85 years TO THE HOUR that Houdini died. Come on people, what more do we need? He's come back!
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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby Dustin Stinett » October 31st, 2011, 5:02 pm

FYI: I've merged the two threads that were started.

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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby jay leslie » October 31st, 2011, 5:19 pm

It's just after 2 p.m. I understand the fire is out.

Now for the real question. Will the city make the Glovers tear=out all the old aluminium wiring and replace it. What a nightmare.

I've been in those walls, a few times, and the insulation is old newspapers.

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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby JohnCox » October 31st, 2011, 6:31 pm

Visit my blog Wild About Harry

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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby RobertAllen » October 31st, 2011, 6:34 pm


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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby David Charvet » October 31st, 2011, 6:53 pm


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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby JohnCox » October 31st, 2011, 6:58 pm

I posted the press conference in my update here. Sounds like the water did more damage than the fire. Thankfully it doesn't sound like the sprinklers came on in the library. At least I hope not.

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Re: Fire at The Magic Castle?

Postby Donal Chayce » October 31st, 2011, 7:26 pm

I happened to be driving by right as all of the fire engines began to converge. I didn't see any flames, but lots of smoke was pouring out of the Castle roof. It was a sickening sight.
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THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » October 31st, 2011, 9:25 pm

West has been on the scene all day representing her family as well as her love for the club!
She just came home and has this to report: First, everyone got out safely, no one was hurt. Second, The Castle sustained some damage, but not as bad as it could have been. The Magic Castle will be closed for several days to repair the damage, but should be open this weekend!

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Dick Koornwinder » October 31st, 2011, 9:48 pm

Jonathan, thanks for the update. Realizing what could have been happen this is sounding not too bad!

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby M.Lee » October 31st, 2011, 10:20 pm

This is Great news !

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 31st, 2011, 10:51 pm

Excellent news.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Pete Biro » November 1st, 2011, 12:41 am

Stay tooned.

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Pete Biro » November 1st, 2011, 12:41 am

Milt said the "annex" Palace, Library, etc., is all OK.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Don Hendrix » November 1st, 2011, 8:49 am

I believe there are no sprinklers in the library.

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » November 1st, 2011, 6:41 pm

fortunately, defibrilators were on hand

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » November 2nd, 2011, 2:24 pm

the best coverage yet, with photos of the damage and definite projections about re-opening:

http://echopark.patch.com/articles/with ... to-8317477

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 2nd, 2011, 2:36 pm

Good news. Sounds like they got lucky.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Pete Biro » November 2nd, 2011, 4:01 pm

Great work by fire crews. 120 showed up and most were covering things in plastic and moving things out of harms way. The fire chief called 'em all in as he realized the value of the memorabelia. Irika Larsen was there working for over 24 hours straight.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 14th, 2011, 10:00 pm

Here is a letter just send electronically to all members of the Academy of Magical Arts by President Neil Patrick Harris explaining exactly what is going on right now with the Magic Castle after the recent fire. I would say it's time to send a donation to their Inferno Fund to help with the restoration.

Dear Members of the AMA:

I want to send a note to all of you, apologizing for a lack of information and explaining what has happened at the club since the unfortunate incident last month. Please understand that every day we are receiving more updates, more answers, more hurdles, more decisions. Those are all constantly affecting the timelines for completion, which has made it quite tricky to provide sound and reliable announcements to our members. It seems that as soon as we go to print, a new wrinkle changes things yet again. But here is the most up to date info, as I know it:

As you all know, a fire broke out at the Magic Castle on Halloween, October 31. The Los Angeles Fire Department was called immediately and did a fantastic job of putting out the fire and then putting down as much plastic as they could to prevent further water damage to the interior of the building. Investigations have revealed that the fire was started by a roofing contractor. While a worker was using a blowtorch to heat asphalt as part of the operation, part of the roof caught fire.
Of greatest concern to us all, our employees evacuated the building and none suffered any injuries. The fire damage was limited to the roof and adjoining area on the third floor where the offices are located. The greatest damage resulted from water, and is limited to the Rollin Lane mansion side of the Castle. The Cherub Room, Terrace, Dante Room, Main Bar, Irma's room and Museum all suffered some degree of water damage. The annex area -- home to the Palace of Mystery, Parlor of Prestidigitation, Inner Circle and library -- was not affected by the fire.
Restoration and repair efforts began early the next day, and have continued at a frenetic pace since then. Every surface, every piece of furniture, and all of our other property is being inspected, dried, cleaned and marked for repair as needed. The landlord and AMA have both had representatives on-site to consult with and approve the contractors being used. Jim Bentley has recently volunteered, and been approved by the Board, to serve as the Interim Restoration Project Manager and act as our eyes and ears throughout this process. In addition, our insurer and the landlord's insurer have had claim adjusters on-site to assess the damage and approve the contractors and other expenses necessary to bring our club back to its original condition.

The AMA has property insurance with limits that are more than high enough to reimburse all covered expenses resulting from the fire. Damage to our property and lost income as a result of the business interruption are both reimbursable from our insurer. Damage to the building itself is covered under the landlord's policy. The terms and conditions of the policies define the exact scope of what damages and expenses are covered; some of our expenses will not be covered. The Treasurer and Controller have been working with our insurance representatives at all levels to maximize our insurance recovery and minimize our out of pocket expenses. Our insurers have also been in touch with the insurer for the roofing contractor.
The Board and the membership all have a common goal of keeping the club open to the extent possible during the restoration and repair process, and getting the club fully open at the earliest possible date. The staff has shown incredible creativity and adaptability to the new and changing circumstances we find ourselves in. As a result, we are able to open five nights a week, closing only on Mondays and Tuesdays. A buffet dinner is served with a menu that changes nightly. There are performers in the Palace and Parlor, and the Close-Up shows are taking place in the Peller Theater. The club is open to members and their guests, as well as visitors with guest passes. Check the web site for up-to-the-minute updates on our show and operating schedule.

At this point, we have only a general idea of when we will be able to fully reopen. We believe the restoration company will be done in less than a week. After that, repair contractors will begin fixing the damaged parts of the interior of the building -- walls, paneling, electrical, etc. We are ordering carpet to replace the older floor covering that had to be ripped out. Even with the contractors working as quickly as they can, it will take a number of weeks for the repairs to be completed and inspected by the City agencies that need to sign off before we fully open. As soon as the schedule becomes more defined, I will update you.

Our staff in all departments has shown a fantastic willingness to work around the clock to adapt new procedures for maintaining our operations and serving the needs of our members. I personally would like to acknowledge the tireless work of our vice President Erika Larsen, who has been a constant presence on site, and has been extraordinary in her leadership and decision-making. Rich Cowley has been actively involved, as well, providing invaluable guidance. Our treasurer Randy Sinnott has worked tirelessly with our controller David Clement to make absolutely sure that all financial decisions are well thought through - a monumental feat when you are dealing with an insurance-based situation such as this. West McDonough has also been amazing, and everyone on her team representing the property deserves our thanks. They have even opened up The Magic Hotel to house our Events staff as a temporary office, have offered every resource available to them, and have done so with great positivity and encouragement.

Finally, I'd like to thank you, our members, for your continued interest in the Magic Castle and the AMA. The outpouring of offers of support and assistance has been truly incredible. The Inferno Fund has been embraced by our members as a way to help support the club during this time. I know it is inconvenient in many ways to have this sort of disruption - performers have to get rebooked, dinner reservations cancelled, perks rescheduled, etc. - but please bear with us. Even more than that, please continue to step up and support us. Hand out guest passes, come see shows, donate what you can, stay positive, stay flexible and we will weather this storm (if only there had been a storm on Halloween..!). I'm so proud of everyone, and I am anxious to have the Castle back up to 100% (even, dare I say 150%) very soon. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you soon.

Best,
Neil

Neil Patrick Harris
AMA Board of Directors, President
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » November 20th, 2011, 4:16 am

"a number of weeks"

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Magic Newswire » November 20th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Sorry that I didn't post this here earlier. I usually only do so in "Buzz."
Here's our chat with Milt, Erika, Irene & West as to their impressions were as the first members of the board to respond and what the future holds for the Castle: http://bit.ly/CastleFireside

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Bob Sanders » November 20th, 2011, 9:03 pm

We are happy to see the quick recovery.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Dennis Forel » December 4th, 2011, 11:53 am

I apologize for making my first post here so long but I posted this on the Castle Forums yesterday and thought you might appreciate the update:

While I was at the Castle for Kids Day I spotted Jim Bentley, the Castle's Project Manager, and asked him for a tour of the house.

We entered from the Glover Annex into the front Terrace Dining Room. First, let me report that all the dehumidifiers have been removed as well as the ducting and plastic sheeting that was used to seal off the different rooms, in other words, the house is dry and work has started.

In my last report I let you know that the Dante Room had received the brunt of the water damage and was down to just the wood slats of the wall. While we were in the house this afternoon there were workmen who were installing new plasterboard into the Dante room. The Terrace room is also getting new plaster board to its walls and ceiling which has received new insulation as well. The work in there is temporarily halted while waiting for the roofers to complete some of the originally scheduled repairs. The glass slides have been removed from the walls not due to damage but to make way for repairs and upgrades.

I have heard from many of our long time members who worked on the house in past years about the condition and age of the electrical wiring, let me assure you all that new wiring and brand new, shiny electric and junction boxes have been installed throughout the house and that the "rough electrical" has been approved by city inspectors.

Moving from through the Terrace room to the Cherub room here too one finds that changes are afoot. Jim told me that the false fireplace is to be taken as far back to the wall as possible and that the back corner will have a booth/booths ala Chasens which should increase the amount of dining space in the room. In the central dining room the wall dividers have been removed in anticipation of the new carpet. As I reported previously the glass dome is in good shape. I was told that Milt wants to remove the train that circles it in order to add Tiffany lamp accents to that part of the ceiling.

As we came down the stairs I can report that except for the absence of the alcohol bottles the Owl Bar looks as it always has though the barstools have been removed so that can be recovered in a color that will match the new carpet, black with gold trim.

While I did not go into the Close-up room last time I did today. At this time it looks empty and forlorn, not from any fire or water damage but because the seating has been removed in preparation for the new carpet. Once the carpet is installed and the seats have been reinstalled the Close-up Gallery will be ready for action.

Irma's room, my first time through the house that water damage here affected me the most. I have had a love affair with Irma, her music, and the room since I first laid eyes on the Castle. Skipping the carpet, the room is fairly well stripped to the walls; I don't know if the dcor is the first wallpaper installed by Milt or remnants leftover from previous tenants of the building. Considering how wet and water damaged this room was, to see it dry and open is a major relief. This room is to get a makeover of new wallpaper and the removal of the curtain and false window that is next to Irma's piano. It seems that through the years many of our guests have assumed that someone has been listening to their requests through the window. As Irma has found this a personal insult to her abilities she has asked Milt to do away with this part of the dcor!

Everything I have described so far is to be involved in phase I of opening the main house.

Phase II involves the lower level and offices. I have not been to the offices so I cannot describe anything up there though one can see a blue tarp from the outside where the roofers did their unfortunate thing.

The downstairs museum looks as a best description empty. As when I was there last, the table and chairs have been removed and the display cases are open and empty. The truth is that the museum except for the table, chairs and display cases looks the same as it has for the last thirty years and the moment the lower level is open we will once again be able to use this room to practice our chops and dazzle our friends.

The Pub looks as empty as it usually does when not in use for the weekends. It's waiting. If there is a part of the house with history and heart and the knowledge and hopes for its own potential this that room and with its history and hopes, it waits.

The Hat & Hare, this room has some of the walling removed due to water damage but is dry now. Jim tells me that Milt wants to put some gimmicks into this room but did not give any indication of what they are. In conjunction with the Pub this room has a long history in the Castle. At one time it was the Private Club within the Club (Members Only, ID/Membership Card required), members practice room, and weekend performance venue, its future too awaits.

The caricatures throughout the house, the lower level, up the stairways and outside the close-up room all still hang in place. In case you are unaware, they are all of people who have performed in the house and represent a grand legacy of the Magic hosted by the Castle. The original artist was Ted Salter (for those in the know actually Mickey O'Malley and then Ted) and it was his honor and pleasure as to whose caricature was to be done. These days, no caricature is drawn or installed without the approval of the Board of Trustees; they all wait in silent vigil for our return.

I asked Jim what was the most disappointing thing he encountered, he told me that it was the amount of water damage, I also asked him what was the best thing he has encountered, he told me that it is how quickly the work is coming along and that we are ahead of schedule at this time.

The BoD has stated on our website that they hope that the house (main and dining levels) will be ready sometime in late January. For those who want to help, that will be the moment that Milt will need helpers to create the dcor for the fully refurbished Magic Castle. I have been told the target for that will be sometime in March.

In the meantime, what can you do? Just what I told you before, come and enjoy the magic, come and share the experience of the Castle, come and show that you are a member of the Private Club that we all joined before the general public returns and changes the atmosphere that is so unique and special to this time in our history.

I apologize for being so long winded and only hope that you understand my enthusiasm for the Castle and its future.

I will make future reports as and when I can.

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby JohnCox » December 4th, 2011, 11:10 pm

Thank you so much for the report/tour, Dennis.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 5th, 2011, 7:57 am

Great report, thanks!
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Devious » December 5th, 2011, 11:58 am

A couple's plan for The Castle goes south,
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » December 5th, 2011, 7:01 pm

"These days, no caricature is drawn or installed without the approval of the Board of Trustees; they all wait in silent vigil for our return."

Great image. Dennis has been a major asset, in connection with the fire doing extra duty making balloon animals, and being a generally uplifting presence.

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » December 6th, 2011, 11:02 am

he said "cox"

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby JohnCox » December 6th, 2011, 1:34 pm

Say what?
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Dennis Forel » December 16th, 2011, 6:58 pm

My latest post on the condition of the "House":
The Ethics & Grievance Committee met last night and though I cant tell you anything that went on in the meeting, I can tell you that it gave Alan Merson, Larry Horowitz and I the chance to tour the house. As the heading says, don't do this yourselves. My tours have of the house have included special permission and escorts. Do it without that and you're going to upset our insurance company, possible run into security or trip alarms and if any of that happens, who knows, you might end up in front of the E&G Committee. Besides it shouldn't be long before we're back in the house proper.

The E&G Committee met in the Houdini Room, since it was my first time in there since the fire I want to assure one and all that as reported in the past this room was untouched by both fire and water.

Milt reminded me last night that although there may be plans to add gimmicks to the house the number one goal at the moment is to open the house and get back to business as usual and with that I can tell you that they are beginning to apply paint to the dining and main floors. While the carpet will be new the rest of the house will look just about the same just shinier.

The floors are still bare but rest assured the carpet has been ordered and installation should go smoothly when they are ready for that step in the process, so let's not worry about it.

If you have read any of my other posts you will note that I have made a major point of talking about the Dante Room, the wallboard is in, paint has been applied, dcor will have to be added but the room no longer looks bare and forlorn.

The train set has been removed from the area around the glass dome in the center dining room and paint is being applied here as well. Paint is also being applied to the Cherub Room. They have completed the installation of the wallboard on the ceiling in the Terrace room and paint is being applied to the walls. The wood work on the way down to the main floor has been sanded. Sanding and smoothing of the walls on the main floor are also in progress, some of it complete enough that paint is being applied here as well.

Irma's room needs work but sanding and patching to the walls has already begun. Though I thought that there were no plans for the close-up room, there is a small change that will meet with everyone's approval! Each row of seating has been raised just a little. This will improve the sight lines all around. Both audience and performers can rejoice over this.

The Museum, Pub, and Hat& Hare are scheduled as phase II with no improvements planned. None the less, sanding, painting and new wallboard is being installed were needed. Though no timeline is scheduled for this area I think that we should be down there sooner than expected.

Speaking of timeline, though no one wants to held to one, the hopes are that we should be back in the main house close to Friday January 13th. Remember there are no guarantees, just hopes and even at that the plan is to have the house useable, not a big party or fancy activities, just complete enough that we can finally eat in our dining rooms and watch some magic in the Close-up room and get back to some sense of normality.

If you want a peek of the work in progress please check to photos that Hal Scheie has been taking. They can be found in the event photo gallery under the heading "The Phoenix Slowly Rises". You can also check out Milt's "Lunch Gazette" which he continues to write and post.

PS - Keeping checking the forums or Milt's Lunch Gazette to learn the details of an upcoming "Fire" sale!

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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 16th, 2011, 7:07 pm

I've heard end of January, but it would be great if everything reopened sooner.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby JohnCox » December 16th, 2011, 7:40 pm

Thank you for the report, Dennis.
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Re: THE MAGIC CASTLE UPDATE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » December 17th, 2011, 6:23 pm

"Though no timeline is scheduled for this area I think that we should be down there sooner than expected."

Out of curiosity, what is the "expected" opening of the no-timeline "Phase 2"?


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