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62 Years Ago, a Factory Explodes; 65 Years Ago, Snow in Downtown

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It was yesterday in 1944 when the LA Times reported "snow flurries and a violent 10-minute hailstorm [that] laid a white canopy over most of Los Angeles." City Hall from First and Spring is shown here to the right.

While that was unusual, a few years later on the same date, a most unfortunate explosion rocked a downtown factory killing 17 and injuring 151, blogdowntown finds. The blast was heard from as far as the harbor and the valley--it damaged 116 buildings surrounding the O'Conner Electro-Plating Corporation's building at 926 E. Pico.

The factory was used for making army furniture under contract. The wrong mix of chemicals by the plant's chief chemist was blamed for the incident, a jury found after discovering he fraudulently misrepresented his credentials. Robert M. Magee in fact did not have a PhD from M.I.T., he never even graduated from high school.

Photo via the UCLA Library Digital Collections and by the LA Times