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Disastrous Fire at Central Library

May 11, 1986

In view of the recent fire at our main library, there is one thing that stands out in my mind: How or why was this "city" building, this cultural landmark, allowed to remain open?

With all the fire safety laws in effect these days, why was there no sprinkler system? How did this building escape notice? If this had been a "privately" owned building, there would be no question that it would be forced to be closed and to remain closed until proper safety measures had been taken.

The L.A. Fire Department, with it's strict fire codes, is very thorough and firm in its checking of downtown buildings. It would never hesitate to cite any non-conforming companies. Why did the library go untouched? Granted, there was a bill passed last year to renovate the building, but this structure is 60 years old! What took so long?

Thanks to the excellent work of our Fire Department, the losses incurred were not as great as could have been andfortunately there was no human loss. But what the savings would have been if there was a sprinkler system installed.

The recent Hollywood Library fire should have been warning enough that the main library was just as vulnerable, if not more so. The cost of such a system, even a temporary one, seems so petty in comparison to the losses we are now faced with. Some of these items are irreplaceable, both monetarily and emotionally.

All due to what? Certain city officials are too concerned with spending the taxpayers' money on their own pet projects.

It's sad that we have had to learn the hard way, and at such great expense, on paying for safety now instead of paying for our mistakes later.

STACEY A. VILLALPANDO

Long Beach

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