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Paul Kalich PPA member | profile | all galleries >> 1924 Arcadia Theatre in Dallas, Texas Burns down on June 21, 2006, Full Demolition started 12-12-06 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

1924 Arcadia Theatre in Dallas, Texas Burns down on June 21, 2006, Full Demolition started 12-12-06

Fire started in an adjacent Restaurant and spread into the theatre and all of the adjacent retail block. Fire originally reported at around 4:00 and I arrived on the scene at aprox 4:14 knowing that it could get big. Fire reached 6 alarm status before 5:00 with over 120 firefighters, 3 hook and ladder trucks, 4 snorkel trucks and many support vehicles. I then went back Thursday Morning and recorded the devestation and then went back for a while Thursday evening to record the start of the demolition of the tower above the stage and the back wall which were thought to be to unstable to leave for more than a few days. (When actually torn down the structure was more sound than originally thought but because of liabilities associated with the structure the Insurance companies decided to demolish most of the long wall and the tower-some of these walls consisted of a fire brick on the inner side, a second brick that was fired with 2 holes (Jan 8, 1924 stamped on most of them) and a finish brick with 3 holes all marked Acme Brick Company or Acme Ferris.


On Dec 11, 2006 I went back to document the final sunset on the complex and took multiple pictures of the building before the demolition crew started their work on the 12th. When I arrived late in the afternoon of the 11th a Sign Company had just finished taking down the last part of the Arcadia Sign that was salvagable, other parts of the sign were removed a couple weeks before and given to one of the Neighborhood associations. I have continued documenting the full demolition and prep work on the site. Once the contractors took down the main walls around the perimeter of the site they did some test breakthroughs into the basements of the Arcadia where they found three seperate basements with one basically under the full seating area of the theatre, one under the stage and the third under the back portion of the balcony area going back to the rear exterior wall of the building with some of these having a concrete cap of over 14 inches thick and all having a concrete floor that was up to 20 inches thick.

The outside walls of the theatre were a finish brick that came from ACME Brick with the date stamp of Jan 8, 1924 while they all had a fire brick inner face on the walls of the theatre and the parts of the building that were built at that time. Now there were remodelings done to the front face of the building which were done after WWII and those were done using Ferris bricks (no date known yet but all of the buildings that faced Greenville had been done at the same time). Many of the sidewalks in the area have a 1951 pour date. The wing that was added after the original construction that included Condom Sense and the other shops had been built sometimes later in the 1920's up to the mid to late 30's (possibley done for the 1936 Texas Centennial which was celebrated at Fair Park just a few miles away) had their back and side walls constructed of structural iron and Palmer bricks which were laid three bricks thick. Photographs of the block dated 1938 show all of the buildings with a glass block and tile fronts in an Art Deco Style.

Now inside of the theatre there had been several remodelings over the years and it turns out that a wall that was in the kitchen area where the fire occured was just made of timber studs and sheet rock which when easily breached allowed the fire to enter the theatre area proper. This walled over area may have been an entry into the theatre around stage left when first built so people would enter at the box office (current location is original location) and could go to the left and enter at the back of the theatre or go up to the balcony or they could go to the right and enter the seating area just above the stage area, this right entrance was what had been closed off and included in the restraunt and if it had been done in brick instead of just lumber and sheetrock the fire may not have breached into the theatre as fast as it did. If you view the demolition pictures after some of the walls around the restraunt were torn down you can easily see this charred but still standing wall which ends at a wall with fire brick lining.

Also checking the perimeter of the building site there is a pour date on some of the concrete sidewalk of Sept 1923.

AS of January 2009 the site is empty, well being used for a garden center in season.
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4:14 PM when I arrived
4:14 PM when I arrived
Mostly White and Grey Smoke Coming from the Fire
Mostly White and Grey Smoke Coming from the Fire
Fire Dept Already Making the Decision to not Fight the Fire Internally
Fire Dept Already Making the Decision to not Fight the Fire Internally
Early Part of the Fire
Early Part of the Fire
Crews Waiting to Rotate in to Fight the Fire Temp was 94 at the time
Crews Waiting to Rotate in to Fight the Fire Temp was 94 at the time
Watching as the First Crews Attack the Fire
Watching as the First Crews Attack the Fire
Wind Blowing Smoke Away from this Location
Wind Blowing Smoke Away from this Location
South Door to the Building Breached by the Fire Dept to Check out the Syn Bar
South Door to the Building Breached by the Fire Dept to Check out the Syn Bar
Third Hook and Ladder Truck Arrives
Third Hook and Ladder Truck Arrives
Batalion Chief Helping Hook and Ladder Truck Determine Where to Attack the Fire
Batalion Chief Helping Hook and Ladder Truck Determine Where to Attack the Fire
Third Hook and Ladder truck setting up  on South end of Building
Third Hook and Ladder truck setting up on South end of Building
Smoke Still Grey and Brown
Smoke Still Grey and Brown
2 Minutes 17 seconds Later
2 Minutes 17 seconds Later
Hook and Ladder on North Side of Buildings
Hook and Ladder on North Side of Buildings
Firefighters on North End of the Building Ready to go back in if necessary
Firefighters on North End of the Building Ready to go back in if necessary
Three Firefighters who had just left the building when it was decided to get out!
Three Firefighters who had just left the building when it was decided to get out!
Arch Angel
Arch Angel
View Looking South down Greenville Ave
View Looking South down Greenville Ave
Nuevo Leon is the Starting Place of the Fire
Nuevo Leon is the Starting Place of the Fire
8J8F2451.jpg
8J8F2451.jpg
8J8F2452.jpg
8J8F2452.jpg
8J8F2453.jpg
8J8F2453.jpg
8J8F2454.jpg
8J8F2454.jpg
The Arcadia Sign was removed before Demolition
The Arcadia Sign was removed before Demolition
8J8F2457.jpg
8J8F2457.jpg
Flames Erupting from the Roof of the Shop Next to the Arcadia
Flames Erupting from the Roof of the Shop Next to the Arcadia
The A R C A D I A sign over the Marquee was donated to a local neighborhood association
The A R C A D I A sign over the Marquee was donated to a local neighborhood association
Entry to the Arcadia has Fire Erupting From it's Ceiling
Entry to the Arcadia has Fire Erupting From it's Ceiling
Different Colored Helmets denote different rankings in the Dept
Different Colored Helmets denote different rankings in the Dept
8J8F2464.jpg
8J8F2464.jpg
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