Fire Damages Magic Castle on Halloween

No one was reported injured in the Monday afternoon blaze that forced the closing of the landmark and the cancellation of its Halloween events.

An attic fire that broke out at took at least 120 firefighters about an hour to extinguish Monday afternoon, authorities said.

The private club for magicians and magic enthusiasts, located at 7001 Franklin Ave. and home to the Academy of Magical Arts, will be closed at least through Thursday, according to its Facebook page

"At this point, our hope is to reopen Friday," the Facebook posting said. "We should know more over the next 48 hours."

Matt Spence, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman, said the fire was reported at 12:35 p.m.

Although the cause of the blaze is under investigation, it appeared accidental in nature, Spence said. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

The fire was reported to have broken out in the attic and in the walls, Spence said. "Most of the damage was confined to the area of origin, that would be the second floor and the attic space above it," he said.

"Thanks to a very aggressive fire attack and the sprinklers throughout the facilities, it really helped keep the fire in check," Spence said.

No one was injured.

Ironically, the club's week of Halloween festivities was dubbed "Inferno at the Castle." Its website said that "For the last week in October, The Magic Castle will be ON FIRE with the spirit of Halloween!"

The club posted the following message on its website:

As you may already know, the Magic Castle experienced a small fire this morning, starting in the attic above our administrative offices.  Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, and the Los Angeles Fire Department was quick not only in responding to the scene, but in resolving the situation and minimizing the impact to the building.

The Castle has experienced some damage to its roof, as well as to some ceilings and fixtures.  With sadness, therefore, the Board of Directors has decided to close our operations for the next several nights and, once our assessment is complete, will be announcing whether we'll be closed for business beyond that.  We believe that insurance will cover any financial losses, and have notified our carriers.

The iconic castle structure was built in 1909 as a home for prominent banker Rollin B. Lane, who envisioned turning the Hollywood area into acres of farms, ranches and orange groves, according to the Magic Castle website. Thanks to severe drought conditions, however, Lane never fulfilled his dream.

The Lane family moved away in the 1940s, and the castle was split into several homes, then eventually into apartments.

Its transformation into a club for magicians began in the 1960s. Milt Larsen, a writer for Truth or Consequences, rallied friends and other donors to restore the building and turn it into a private club for magicians—a dream that was long held by Larsen's father. The Magic Castle opened its doors on Jan. 2, 1963.

—City News Service contributed to this report.


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