Truck Amok


rubbishamokWhen it rains, it pours. Which is probably a good thing, since rain will put out all that pesky fire.

Corner of Fourth and Olive, August 29, 1962.

Van R. Alexanian, 23, was loading a barrel of rubbish into the scoop on the front of his trash-truck when the parking brake gave way. The truck ran into an electrical pole, and the live wire caught the truck debris on fire. The pole then fell onto a Mrs. Helen Stairs, 50.

The flaming truck went on to take out a traffic signal and a lamp post before crashing into a garage. This much was fortunate; the garage attendant was equipped with a fire extinguisher.


Officer L. S. Rasic commented that had the truck continued through the intersection, it would have crashed into eight cars waiting for the signal to change.

The question remains as to what garage the garbage truck plowed into, as there were in fact three at Olive and Fourth: the 1923 Mutual Garage at the NE corner, the 1919 Hotel Clark/Center Garage at the SE corner, and the 1923 Savoy Garage at the SW corner. Here’s a picture of all three, 1966:


1outof3Remarkably, the Savoy still stands. The 600-car Mutual at left in the image above is now the foundation for Cal Plaza Two. The Hotel Clark Garage, center (along with that tall white building, ironically named the Black Building) is still an empty lot, site of what was to be Cal Plaza Three. (The parking lot at foreground right was the former site of the Fremont.)


Should you wish to learn more about garages, please do so here.

Garage pic, William Reagh, Los Angeles Public Library


3 thoughts on “Truck Amok”

  1. sycoelephants

    Weren’t expecting to see that, were you.

    Daily News shot of the Cole Brothers circus cruising Los Angeles, 1953. Parker’s thin blue line protecting citizens from deadly rampage.


    (LA Times Photographic Archive, UCLA).

  2. Another shot of the Clark Garage (see the Center Garage pic, two comments below) at Fourth and Olive, here, looking down Fourth toward Hill.


    The Hotel Antlers and the Black Building on the left down toward Hill; this is before the Savoy Garage was built on the right, so you’ve the likes of the Mumford and Sheldon before the Wright & Callender.


    USC Digital Archives

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