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November 27, 1987|JACK JONES | From staff and wire reports

Dinner was ruined for the men at Los Angeles County Fire Station 145 in Rowland Heights--but then so was their firehouse. It caught fire.

On the menu for the evening were taquitos, which were cooking in hot oil when the engine company and paramedics were called to a traffic accident. Before they could return, they were dispatched to another traffic mishap.

A few minutes after that, they went racing back to the station when the hot oil on the stove exploded and a citizen reported the building ablaze. They put out the fire, but not before it did a total of $250,000 damage to structure and contents.

"It was really unfortunate," said firefighter Bruce Arvizu, "because the station was brand new." Someone had thought to turn off the stove, Arvizu explained, but it was an electric one, "so if you turn it too far, instead of turning it off, you're putting it on high."

The firefighters and rescue squad have been reassigned until repairs can be made.

A photograph of Serge Sarkis' bust of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, which greets folks outside Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, adorns the invitations to a reception for next week's exhibit of Sarkis sculpture, drawings and paper relief.

The invitation notes that the exhibit, from Tuesday through Dec. 7 in the City Hall Bridge Gallery, is being staged by the city's Cultural Affairs Department; Fred Croton, general manager.

Croton, however, quit Wednesday, ending the flap that began when Bradley accused him of lying on his job application about his professional background.

One would have thought that by the time the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Maine and the Thousand Oaks Public Library all got what was coming to them, there wouldn't be much in the way of memorabilia left in the estate of the late Rudy Vallee.

The one-time bandleader and megaphone crooner should not be sold short as a collector, however. It seems there's more.

About 40 items--including clothes he wore in the long-ago films "The Vagabond Lover" and "The Palm Beach Story"--went on the auction block Thursday at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton in conjunction with something called "The American Dream Festival." Bids will be received for a week.

One item is a model ship given to Vallee by one-time screen star John Barrymore.

Vallee's widow, Eleanor, says she plans to remarry next spring, so she is letting go of a few things. "I've enjoyed them," she notes, "and it's time to go on to a new life."

The little matter of Max the Rooster apparently has been resolved.

Max has been living in the scenic shop at television station KCET in Hollywood for a few weeks, apparently fed and cared for by a couple of employees who enjoyed his idle crowing.

There was, however, "a tiny controversy," in the words of a KCET spokeswoman, over whether pets should reside on the station grounds. KCET, one employee pointed out, already has K-CAT, a feline who has been around so long that he (or possibly she) has squatter's rights.

The question of what to do about Max was answered Wednesday when his two good friends said they would take him home.

It is presumed he made it safely through Thanksgiving.

A couple of lucky people who bought Lotto tickets at Los Angeles-area stores are going to split $884,808, say state lottery officials.

Nobody hit all six numbers--16, 5, 32, 45, 35, 42, plus the bonus number 46.

But two tickets contained five of the numbers plus the bonus number. They were purchased at Castle Market, 9819 National Blvd., Los Angeles, and at Mr. B.S. Liquor Market, 1520 Aviation Blvd., Redondo Beach.

The winners should return to those stores to turn in their tickets by today, officials say.

If they want their money.

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