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‘The Library Book’ Review: The People’s Palace

On the lovely spring morning of April 29, 1986, the Central Library of Los Angeles caught fire. The patrons, the staff, even the first firefighters on the scene expected a false alarm; the building’s outmoded system went off all the time. But a second fire brigade discovered smoke at the roofline and fire in the fiction stacks, where flames snaked down one overstuffed shelf and up the next. Feasting on paper, with no sprinklers or fire doors to stymie its appetite, the blaze escaped any hope of control, even as 60 fire companies from around the sprawling city marshaled for battle on Fifth Street. At day’s end, when the…

Article source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-library-book-review-the-peoples-palace-1539303516

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