Fire Damages El Rancho Theater
Estimates Damage at About $20,.000
Fire of unknown origin damaged the El Rancho Theatre Monday afternoon to an estmated extent of around $20,000.
It is probable that the show will be closed for three months.
Roger Powers, manager, states that he had beenn in the building until 3:15 p.m., and that there had not been the slightest indciation of anything wrong at the time.
L. L. Listenberger, manager of the SHell Serivce station next door, turned in the alarm at 3:55 o'clock
The fire started on the sage back of the screen and spread quickly into the area between the ceiling and the roof.
When the firemen arrived dense smoke was pouring out all sides of the building, making it difficult to locate the seat of the fire.
As the theatre adjoins the Hollywood Cafe with other buildings extending in a solid block additional fire equipment was called as a saftey measure, Plymouth, Argos and Monterey responding.
Their help was not needed as the local firemen quickly brought the fire under control in spite of the acrid smoke and intense heat. The absence of a strong wind, along with the fact that the building is constructed of cement blocks with a sheet metal ceiling and roof, kept the fire from spreading to other structures.
Two small fires started later in the building, but were quickly extingushed by the firemen who kept a hose in the building until after 8:00 p.m.
The stage screen, airconditioning unit, and sound equipment were completely destroyed, along with 300 pounds of popcorn.
The rafters were partially burned, the front seats scorched and the others damaged by water, most of the front was soaoked by water, and part of the front interior and exterior will have to be replace.
The exact extent of the damage will not be known until an architect and contractor have made a complete survey of the building.
It is improbable that a contractor can start remodeling within three weeks and it is believed that about three months, at least, will be required to get the building in shape for the heatre to resume operation.