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August 23, 2019

News:

2015 San Pedro Prep Softball Preview -

Friday, May 1, 2015

Art Preview: ‘Non-Native’ by Ingrid Dietrich -

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

San Pedro Prep Baseball 2015 Preview -

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Recapping The Final Gaffey Street Community Workshop -

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tiffany Torres Bears Down For Success At POLA High -

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

San Pedro Fish Market Launches Scholarship Contest -

Thursday, January 15, 2015

San Pedro’s Rita Fiorenza Is A Basketball Revelation -

Thursday, January 15, 2015

‘No Lane Reductions’ As Gaffey Street Redevelopment Plans Move Forward -

Friday, January 9, 2015

San Pedro Prep Sports 2014 Fall Review -

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

LAPD Harbor Division and Philie B’s Pizza To Host Charity Events This Weekend -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

San Pedro Holiday Parade Returns Sunday with a Twist -

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winter Wonderland Comes To The Waterfront -

Monday, December 1, 2014

One-Way Streets May Come to Downtown San Pedro -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

San Pedro’s Two Newest Volleyball Skyscrapers: Allison Kittell & Tracy Folchi -

Monday, November 10, 2014

San Pedro and POLA Prep Girls Cross-Country Preview: Running For More Glory -

Thursday, November 6, 2014

International Craft Beer Festival Comes to Crafted This Weekend -

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Second Workshop for Urban Greening Project Receives Warm Reception from Community -

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Construction of Mixed-Use Apartment Complex on Gaffey Could Begin Next Spring -

Thursday, September 25, 2014

UPDATE: Blaze Inside Port of L.A. in Wilmington Nearly Contained; Air Quality Deemed ‘Safe’ -

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

San Pedro High Football Off To Another Strong Start -

Monday, September 22, 2014

Arson Confirmed as Cause of Elks Lodge Fire as San Pedro Processes the Loss

The San Pedro Elks Lodge suffered a devastating fire Tuesday morning. (photo: Chris Villanueva)

Two days after most of the San Pedro Elks Lodge was destroyed in a raging fire in what is now an arson investigation, San Pedrans are processing the loss the historic hilltop lodge, throwing their support behind its members, and scrambling to find new venues for booked parties and events.

Los Angeles Fire Department investigators have been on scene since the fire broke around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Yesterday, a specially trained canine was brought in to help determine the if the cause was arson.

At a press conference yesterday in front of the lodge’s charred remains, Los Angeles City Fire Chief James Featherstone confirmed suspicions that the fire was deliberately set. “Arson is a serious crime and it will not be tolerated in the city of Los Angeles,” he said. “Know that if you commit arson that we will find you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law and you will go to prison.”

Coucilman Joe Buscaino, a member of the Elks, offered even harsher words. “We damn well know this fire was set on purpose,” he said. “To the coward who set this fire, our message to you is that you will be hunted down and arrested. We don’t put up with this type of behavior in our San Pedro community.”

The fire destroyed most of the two-story lodge, which has been the setting of countless community celebrations and gatherings for almost 50 years. Century-old stained glass windows from its original location were lost, but other heirlooms kept in the adjacent dome-topped meeting hall were saved, including the lodge’s 109-year-old charter and Bible.

“To the coward who set this fire, our message to you is that you will be hunted down and arrested.” – Councilman Joe Buscaino

Lodge leadership met yesterday with the office of Councilman Buscaino to create a game plan for rebasing operations, relocating upcoming events, and eventually starting the rebuilding process.

One of the first things on their to-do list is reconnecting the lodge’s phone line.

“This feels like an out-of-body experience,” Elks Lodge Vice President John Stammreich told the Beacon Tuesday night as he arrived at the scene to see the damage first-hand. He had just flown in to Los Angeles from a business trip in Louisville, Kentucky, where he received an early morning call about the fire.

“What’s amazing to me is that the lodge building itself is still in tact,” Stammreich said. “There’s a lot of water damage, but it’s remained in tact and I almost feel like that’s a symbol of the strength of the lodge and its members.”

He had been following the news while he was away through media coverage, reports from friends and social media, where he said he has read rumors he would like to put to rest.

“Any kind of rumors that we’re trying to sell off the property and give it to a condo developer or anything else are untrue,” Stammreich said. “We had plans to remodel our gym because we needed to make it a coed gym, but that was the only major remodeling plans we had other than redecorating.”

Messages of support have been pouring in from not only the community, but other Elks Lodges.

Los Angeles Fire Department Spokesman Brian Humphrey said the investigation is ongoing and that no arrests have been made pertaining to the incident.

The department did respond to a small fire that was lit to brush in the lodge’s lower parking lot after 6 a.m. on Sunday. Stammreich said that someone broke into the lodge’s vehicle gate, flipped its lock and drove into an air conditioning unit. He was unsure whether or not surveillance video from the incident had been examined before Tuesday’s fire. Judging by the height of where damage was left on the air conditioning unit, he said, it was determined that the suspect possibly drove a pick up truck.

Humphrey said it is has not been determined whether or not windows and doors in the structure were blown out before or after fire fighters extinguished the flames, but that there were no reports of an explosion.

The fire has thrown a wrench into upcoming events like Sunday’s Easter Brunch, Cinco de Mayo and the Knights of Columbus 100-year anniversary. Numerous venues and businesses have offered to help the lodge relocate events.

Operations Manager Sacha Bailey has been busy taking calls from people who had booked wedding receptions, showers, funerals and parties at the lodge.

A Facebook page supporting the rebuilding of the lodge has become a hub of updates and information.

“It’s very premature for me to even share any thoughts or ideas about rebuilding, but I felt something should be placed on social media for people to support it,” the page’s creator and community activist, John Mavar, told the Beacon. He isn’t an Elk himself (although he wants to join now more than ever), but has been to the lodge many times over the years and felt compelled to start the page, which has quickly grown to have more than 2,000 likes.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Janice Hahn issued a statement on the fire.

“My heart goes out to my fellow Elks Club members on the loss of the Lodge buildings,” she said. “We as a community have shared so many wonderful memories at the Lodge and those memories can never be destroyed. Thank you to the Los Angeles Fire Department and the 100+ firefighters for your efforts fighting this horrific fire and saving the lodge room and much of the club memorabilia. We will rebuild and be stronger than ever.”

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