Three articles by Suzy Williams, Leland Auslander and Carol Fondiller
Monthly Archives: January 2009
By Suzy Williams
On December 28, our beloved Mark “Sponto” Kornfeld, died in the gallery that he had created – Sponto’s – at 7 Dudley Avenue. This had been a space in which every Venetian felt at home during the last 24 years.
Sponto died of an apparent heart attack. He had come in the afternoon, left his keys in the outside door, and had begun to run a shower, which was still running six hours later when his body was found.
He had complained to friends of having chest pain the previous week. Born Mark Kornfeld in Glen Cove, New York, on August 29, 1949, he was only 59 years old.
The venue, which once held the Venice West Cafe, home of the Beat Generation in Venice, was a mecca to artists of every Venice stripe with constant showings of original art, cutting-edge films, lectures, poetry readings and musical performances, mostly of local persuasion.
Twice a year Sponto Gallery hosted a Solstice extravaganza, hosted by Ibrahim and Diane Butler, wherein a group show of mostly homeless artists and all sorts of live musicians performed. The celebration often lasted all day and late into the night.
The Venice community has taken a very hard hit at the loss of this generous, impish, life-affirming man. He was the ultimate hippie, sooth-sayer, sunset appreciator, lady admirer, Venice afficianado.
Losing Sponto is very hard, unexpected and deeply sad for me and many more in our community.
The last couple of years was an immense struggle for him to keep the venue afloat. Certainly the loss of this pillar of our community can only make us more aware of the handful of remaining benevolent people who preserve our unique culture with such intelligent passion.
The only way that we who are left behind can deal with this ridicu-lousy profound loss is to dance, love more, kick out the jams, and cry our eyes out. Sponto Sponto Sponto. We may have had the chance to thank you, but why didn’t we get a chance to say goodbye…?
The last time I saw Sponto was on first friday this December on Abbot Kinney at Zingara, the gypsy clothing and artifact store. We were full of merriment, based on the largess of the store proprietors and the general goodwill up and down, and Sponto said to me : “What would you like? I want to buy you a present – anything you want.”
I, incredulous, said “What? Are you sure? Are you serious?” and he said “Yes – just pick it out.”
So I showed him a couple of gem-colored candlesticks I’d become enamored with and he bought them for me pronto (meanwhile we met two lovely young ladies who were taken by the huge vibes from the bubble of bliss we were occupying and we fell into a deep probe of each other’s life-path-very Sponto-inspired).
Then Sponto said: “What else would you like?” and I said: “What do you mean? You want to get me something on top of this??” (I was already knocked out) “Yes ! Yes! What else would your heart desire?”
So I said:”Hmm.. Well, there are some wonderful question-mark old typewriter key earrings that I totally crave” and he said “Let’s go,” so we walked the half-block it took to get to Carol Tantau’s, but unfortunately it had closed.
Sponto then turned his attention down the boulevard and bid me fondue and disappeared into the sparkly, shimmery, enchanted Abbot Kinney night. I called him the next day to thank him and he said “Oh yeah, baby it’s all good…I gotta go…love you honey.” Yes that was my last contact with Sponto.
By Leland Auslender
Mark Kornfeld, who answered equally to “Sponto,” the name of his art gallery, was always the happy host at his art openings during the many years he operated the place. In the sixties, it had been the Venice West Cafe, where Beats and Hippies gathered to share camaraderie, food and poetry. Sponto’s body, mind, and soul seemed identified with the gallery, which, with little money and much magic, he managed to keep alive… as long as he was alive. Perhaps it was the outrageous, ever-rising rent that contributed to his heart attack and early demise.
So, as usual, he was floating in and out at the opening of the “Circle of Color” artists’ reception in celebration of the December 21, 2008 winter solstice.
For eight years, being a fine-art photographer, I was one of a circle of Venice artists who exhibited work there twice a year (Summer solstice was the other time), and I always photographed the exhibits and colorful goings on, which included talented entertainers, drum circles, raucous bands, free-form dancing, and food and drink. The celebrations didn’t sell much art, but they always attracted a gaggle of colorful characters, including many of Venice’s homeless, who piled their plates high with the abundant free refreshments. I always had a field day photographing these odd eccentrics, who had the courage to be their unconventional, creative selves.
None was more unconventional and true to his nature then Sponto, who named himself by amalgamating spontaneous and pronto. However, for reasons I never understood, whenever I tried to photograph him, he would waive me off; he didn’t want to be filmed. Perhaps he thought he didn’t look good, or perhaps he just wanted to be remembered as he was in life, not in a picture. So I never got a photo of Mark. That is, until, by the magic of my photo angel, I caught him in the gallery kitchen so absorbed in gabbing to a gorgeous girl that I was able to surreptitiously sneak a photo of him—my first ever.
When, a few days later, Suzy Williams, who entertained at the events, and Gerry Fialka, who produced cinema screenings at the gallery, told me that Sponto had died, I couldn’t believe it. He was so alive a few days earlier, and his being so much younger than my 83 years filled me with a peculiar trepidation. Now they were asking me to furnish photos for his memorial service.
So here is my one and only shot of Sponto, who certainly needs no photo to be remembered as that lively, loving spirit with happy twinkling eyes, spreading cheer to all who met him. The gallery may not survive Sponto’s death, but photo or none, as Rumi observed, music from the soul is heard forever, throughout the universe.
By Carol Fondiller
Two people who have left their imprint on the Venice “Art Scene” have died. Both within the same week. One got the full funeral treatment of a prominent art personage who traveled in influential money and powerful circles. The other died almost anonymously in his small gallery on 7 Dudley Avenue.
Robert Graham sure as hell left his imprint on Venice. In addition to his sculptured homage to Elizabeth Short, known as the Black Dahlia, who was a young woman dismembered in the 1940’s, the murder remains one of the more bizarre unsolved crimes in Los Angeles Crime Annals.
One can see this homage at the Venice Traffic Circle, where it was stuck there without knowledge or consent of most of the Venice Community and since poor Ms. Short had little or no connection to Venice, it would have been more appropriate to erect a statue of Charles Manson, at least he tried to kill someone in the Beachhouse apartments.
Graham turned those torsos out by the 100’s, where they were bought by artrepeneurs. They’re scattered over and in the salons of the world like the clowns painted by John Wayne Gancey, a famous dismemberer and cannibal of the late 20th century, who spends his time in prison painting clowns. They are much prized by people who prize clowns and killers.
I guess Graham had one of his mass produced torsos left over, needed a tax break, bestowed the thing on an ungrateful Venice. There were some Venetians who tried to take the torsos to heart by sticking a head on the torso and pasties on the torsos. Pert little titties to make it more Venice.
Graham hired thugs to beat up people who did that and installed surveillance equipment on an illegally constructed overhang that bangs like a flacid prick over Windward Avenue. Now that Graham is dead, the torso will appreciate in value, and it will be worth someone’s time and effort to steal the damn thing. Perhaps the columns that he illegally uprooted from Windward Avenue so that he could build his illegally constructed overhang might replace his non-Venice referential piece.
Mark Kornfeld also died in then late December and was a member of the Art Community. I met him when he was one of the cutest guys in Venice. Curly blond hair, blue eyes, nice body, charming and funny. He had the greatest collection of junk I’ve ever seen – old clocks, stunning art, nouveau vases, kewpie dolls and bikes – old Schwinn Bikes that he repaired. I bought some of my favorite bikes from him, sturdy fat tires, with ladies’ foot brakes that were stolen from me. I swear they spoke to me. I’d glide or pump furiously down the Ocean Front Walk and then on the bike path until I was driven off the path by skaters and thousand dollar aluminum titanium light-weight racing bikes who’d push me off the path yelling at me that I was too slow. But my bikes were much admired by the surfers. They were also admired by scoundrely thieves.
Somehow he managed to rent 7 Dudley, home of the famous Venice West Café.
He opened up his art gallery in the late 70s. Mark told me he wanted to keep the spirit of the Venice West. He wanted to host poetry readings, art openings, which many times turned into art parties.
He allowed other people to use his space for meetings and community events. He picked up stuff to sell and was always on the lookout for chicks.
When Venice started to be trendy in the 60s the celebs who wanted to imbibe the “creative” atmosphere of Venice, charmed by the quaint beach cottages, they proceeded to destroy that which they professed to love.
Now Mark was as political as a Golden Labrador Retriever. He thought his little gallery would prosper with the onslaught of the Afflu-Hips.
Instead, a restaurant opened next door to him and immediately the restaurant began complaining about the bikes that Mark parked very neatly and out of the way on the sidewalk. Never mind that said restaurant illegally co-opted space on the sidewalk with tables and chairs, along with très chic slate sandwich boards announcing the specialties de la maison, guess who got cited and who didn’t?
The owner of the building, speculator Werner Sharf tried to evict Mark so that the restaurant could expand its chiciness. Mark persevered and, along with people like Jerry Fialka and Suzy Williams, continued to do his own art and promote outsider art of various artists.
Edgy films, readings, history, music and parties continued and flourished in spite of continual harassment and threats from the landlord and a succession of I-think-I’ll-open-up-a-quaint-little boutique-that-looks-funky-and-is-pricey would be restauranteurs.
But no matter what his troubles, people who bailed on him, cheated him, relatives who swindled him, Mark was always planning his next event.
He wanted to be part of the now prestigious Venice Art Walk. The artrepreneurs who run the Art Walk turned him down.
How could this guy who sold no Bells, Arnoldis, Dills or other art Fashionistos, who was not noticed by the Bull artists of the art world, dare to aspire to heights that in the know where sophisticates and purchasers of High end art presided?
Great Robert Graham, Bull artist of Venice, Bull Gentrification, has left his Great Glaring hoof print in Venice.
His vandalizing the Columns of Windward Avenue, his so far successful efforts to close the downstairs of the Town House, a bar that has been in Venice since 1910. The downstairs was a speakeasy and was a tourist attraction and a source of Civic Pride.
And of course, THE TORSO.
I make no judgment on the artistic attributes of said TORSO, but Graham shoved it on us with the complicit aid of Cindy Miscikowski, former unelected Councilwoman and spouse of Doug Ring, mega-lease holder in Marina Del Rey.
But Mark walked lightly on Venice.
Yes, he wanted to be recognized and rich, but he never destroyed Venice. He changed, but he kept the soul of the community. He saw and loved the edginess, the ugliness, the beauty of this community, this anarcate we call home, as long as the kindly speculators allow us to live in our inflated rent tenements and over-mortgaged and over-taxed single homes that need repairs.
I remember Mark as that golden child-man, enjoying the sun and rain, inviting me into his gallery for a taste of his sacred herb, getting me so stoned, so full of laughter, of his friends and of his generosity.
I found out that Mark’s lease was up in January and it would not be renewed.
In December, Mark went into his Gallery on 7 Dudley and died.
I guess I could go all cosmic woo-woo and speculate on the 2 disparate people who were involved with art and died within days of each other.
I remember Mark and I remember remembering him that those days, they WERE the good ole days.
All I know is, sorry your lease was up old friend.
• We Can, We Have, We Will! - Steve Freedman
• Buying Lincoln Place? - Barbara Eisenberg
• Buying Lincoln Place? - Sheila Bernard
• City Controller Sues City Attorney - Laura Chick
• Homeless Committee - carolyn rios
• Westminster Elementary Is Growing (plants) - Nora Dvosin
• Keeping up the struggle – Chino
We Can, We Have, We Will!
Thanks for the article last month, “Can We Keep Venice Livable? Yes We Can! And Yes We Have!”
Much has changed in Venice in the last 40 years, but fortunately much remains familiar. Venice has experienced a great deal of development—as much as any Westside community. Many old homes, apartments and businesses have been replaced by newer, denser, and more contemporary development. Much of Venice’s industrial property has been rezoned and redeveloped as dense, multi-family apartments and condominiums.
But the Venice community retains the eclectic character that has been so popular for generations. As the article suggests, this is because Venice residents have actively and successfully opposed the largest and most egregious development proposals. Though there is great pressure to redevelop our beach community, whenever a truly outrageous proposal is made by a developer so concerned with his own profit that he is blind or indifferent to our quality of life, Venetians have stepped up to protect our community.
The article mentioned most of the major development proposals turned back by residents but overlooked perhaps the most outrageous. In the early 1980’s, Birtcher Development, an Orange County-based developer, proposed building a two-million square foot regional shopping center known as Admiralty Place on the west side of Lincoln at the end of the Marina Freeway on the Oxford Triangle site now occupied by Ralphs, the Marina Pointe Apartments and the three condominium towers known as The Regatta, The Azzurra, and the Cove. It would have been a huge multi-story shopping center that would have generated far more traffic than the existing buildings. Opposition to that proposal was led by Oxford Triangle residents.
Although much of old Venice has been replaced by new and larger construction, if it were not for the efforts of many committed Venice residents, quality of life in our beach community would undoubtedly be much worse. Next time we hear about a proposal that is truly out of scale with our Venice Beach community, remember—to keep Venice livable, Just Say No.
Yes We Can!
Buying Lincoln Place?
Dear Mr. Editor,
Since the December issue of the Beachhead is running a story with completely false information, it most definitely needs to be retracted at the soonest opportunity.
Your so-called “confirmed” information that the tenants are in negotiations to buy the property is so false that it is overwhelming.
It is irresponsible to put into print such blatant lies which during these times of court cases and other issues can put our few tenants, and those on appeal, into great jeopardy, if it falls into the hands of the AIMCO attorneys who are just looking for any tiny reason of nonsense to take into court against us.
Please, cease and desist, immediately from printing such blatant lies in the future. You have no idea the ramifications such garbage can cause in a court of law for us.
Contrary to what your sources have said, there is no negotiation between the tenants and AIMCO relative to purchase of LP by buyers lined up by the tenants.
There are talks between the lawyers for the tenants and the lawyers to AIMCO, but these talks are strictly confined to issues being litigated and a purchase is not on the table.
From the Collective: The Beachhead stands by its article.
City Controller Sues City Attorney
There has been discussion in the press about a “fight” between the City Attorney and myself. I’m writing to personally update you regarding this issue.
In fact, the disagreement is over the City Controller’s charter-mandated responsibilities to conduct performance audits. Section 261 (k) of the City Charter clearly says that the Controller shall “conduct performance audits of all departments and may conduct performance audits of City programs.“
Despite this language, the City Attorney has formally interpreted the charter to prohibit the Controller from conducting performance audits of programs if they are housed in elected officials’ offices.
The City Attorney has sued me to prevent my proceeding with an audit of his Workers’ Compensation program. The only appropriate resolution is to now turn to the Los Angeles Superior Courts.
I have exhausted all other options, including trying to have this matter placed before the voters on the March ballot, which the Council refused to do.
The City Council has asked me to “stand down” in my attempt to have the Charter clarified and refused to give me paid legal counsel for my defense against the City Attorney’s lawsuit. This is a fight over transparency and accountability and your right to know how your government is spending your taxpayer dollars. I will not back down or step aside. I will pursue this fight so the people of Los Angeles can have clarification once and for all on this important issue.
It’s too bad that the Beachhead still resorts to the yellow journalism and outright lies that Mark Lipman wrote last month in “Neighborhood Council’s Homeless RV Committee Holds Secret Meetings.”
He accused us of “forming a sub-committee specifically tasked with looking for ways to evict poorer residents from our community.”
The committee in fact was formed to “identify sites where …RV’s could take night shelter…..and to review city ordinances and propose language …that would allow this pilot program” We are looking at private and public lots in Venice and CD 11 for legal RV overnight parking that would have minimal impact on residences.
Mark Lipman was at the meeting when this sub-committee was formed. Please tell me how this is “evicting poorer residents”
If you want to accuse the Overnight Parking Permits of this, that is possible fair game. I am totally against OPDs for many reasons, one of which is that the RV dwellers will be harassed more than ever. I joined the Homelessness/RV Committee to find legal lots and streets for these people once the OPDs are in place, as I fear that OPDs are inevitable.
I presume you will print the Mark Ryavac letter regarding the Brown act. No violations were committed.
We are looking for sites in Venice and CD11. Some of us on the committee are also trying to get selected commercial/industrial streets approved for RV overnight dwelling. This is hardly “evicting” poorer residents.
Beachhead, remind your writers about due diligence.
Shame on Mark, he knows my position. I have been quite public about it. Am I guilty by association?
thanks, carolyn rios
Response from Mark Lipman: On this issue, I would respond that my key sources for the article in question are highly credible and trusted.
As the reader admits in her letter, saying that the Overnight Parking Districting is “fair game” (but not this sub-committee), when saying that it was formed to look for ways to evict poorer residents from our community, may I point out that the majority of this new sub-committee (3 out of 4) are the very same people who have been working so hard to make sure that OPDs are created in Venice. The very same people. A simple fact.
It is therefore absolutely fair to say that this new sub-committee is merely an extension of the OPD agenda, which is the eviction from Venice of anyone living in a vehicle, which by common knowledge we can fairly say represent an economically disadvantaged (poor) segment of the community.
Might I also point out that the Venice Neighborhood Council does not even have the right to look outside of our Venice boundaries. Venice is Venice, not CD11, not Los Angeles, or anywhere else. You’re out of your jurisdiction.
If you still feel that my descriptive was unjust, may I remind you of the November 6 committee meeting, when Steve Clare presented the 38 recommendations that came out of the Homelessness Task Force he chaired. When he made his presentation, merely a few questions were asked, then it was “Thank you very much, next.”
To date there has not been any substantive debate on these recommendations. Why not?
Steve Clare was immediately followed by Officer Richardson from the LAPD, who presented his recommendation of moving RVs to Dockweiler Beach, which is 10 miles away from Venice.
Immediately following this presentation, the LAPD recommendation was grafted onto the mission statement for this new sub-committee.
Is what’s happening in this committee suspect? Absolutely it is.
As far as being guilty by association, I don’t know, did you show up for the meetings?
True enough, I do know Carolyn Rios’ positions and highly respect the work she has done in this community. That said, as a journalist, it is my responsibility to report the simple facts of who serves in which capacity, as a basic matter of record keeping. There can be no fault found in that.
Nor can there be in pointing out when a legal line is, or is about to be, crossed. As a journalist that is my duty to the community – it keeps the politicians honest.
Too bad other news outlets are not as diligent in this public service as the Beachhead is. If they were, this country would never have gone to war.
Happy New Year.
Westminster Elementary Is Growing (plants)
Westminster Elementary is slowly but surely converting its sea of asphalt schoolyard into a state-of-the-art learning laboratory, organic garden and joint-use community center.
The first phase has been the school’s organic garden/outdoor classroom. Our garden is fully integrated into in-class science, language and math curricula. First through fifth graders plant, tend, harvest, cook and joyously eat what they grow. They participate in a “seed to table” experience that enriches their understanding of ecology, biology, nutrition and love of the natural world. Our garden is the school’s oasis.
The garden is a collaborative effort of Master Gardeners Nora Dvosin and Nancy Giffin, principal Karen Brown, students, teachers, PTA parents, and a steady stream of community supporters and volunteers… like Jim Murez of the Venice Farmer’s Market who has contributed labor and a yearly stipend, as well as the Los Angeles Conservation Corps who recently removed 3,600 sq.ft. of asphalt to enlarge our garden to 6,000 sq.ft. We won an Office of Community Beautification grant to fund this expansion. Finally we can plant the fruit trees, vines, shrubs, strawberry and raspberry beds, vegetable and flower beds, potato, corn and pumpkins fields that we’ve been planning for.
But our garden is just the first step in a much larger vision. Our Master Plan, drawn by Venice architect Lewin Wertheimer, rethinks the entire campus. We have a school greening project coming up on January 31, during which we’ll plant 30 trees, vines and shrubs and flowers on the campus.
With help from architect Scott McGillivray, we are re-imagining the Kindergarten playground, expanding it, greening it and opening it up to the community on weekends. To accomplish this we’re applying for Joint Use Funding from LAUSD and counting on our local community merchants and Neighborhood Council to support our project.
The eventual goal is to refurbish the entire playground with new athletic equipment, a rubberized running track, an urban forest of native California trees, a reading garden, murals, and a Native American herb garden. These ideas spring forth from the students, the teachers, the volunteers and the community at large.
We’re hoping to become a healthy, beautiful, environmentally sustainable heart-center for the community.
Westminster Garden Project Manager
Keeping up the struggle
I salute all of you people who have been in the struggle all these years. As a former resident, activist and the former chairman of B.A.L.A., a Chicano militant organization created in Venice in 1968, for the sole purpose of fighting for the people’s rights.
I surely remember my ol’ friend Steve Clare, and fondly remember Marge Buckley, Rick Davidson, John Haag and many others. By the way my name is Rafael Melgoza, aka “Chino.” Thank you for carrying on the message, the struggle.
At the December 16 Venice Neighborhood Council Board meeting a petition with over 200 signatures demanding that the board rescind its approval of Overnight Parking Districts in Venice was submitted. In accordance with VNC Bylaws, the board now has no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days to hold a public vote on the issue.
A tentative date of February 17 has been given for a public vote. Please see next month’s Beachhead for more information on this very important matter.
Additionally, the VNC announced that they are now accepting proposals for use of the parcel of public land at 520 Venice Way. For consideration, proposals must be received by the VNC no later than February 2, including a description of what you would do and how you would do it.
For more information please see the VNC website at: http://www.venicenc.org
With ever growing tensions building between rivaling factions on this committee, at the December 4 meeting Dennis Hathaway, Susan Millmann, Samantha Tammaro and Reverend Tom Zeigert, the committee co-chair, all resigned in protest. Carolyn Rios was later named as the new co-chair for this committee.
The Venice Town Council devoted its December meeting to building the fight against permit parking in Venice.
At the meeting and in the following few days, 33 multi-page appeals were made to the California Coastal Commission, which has the authority to overrule the city of Los Angeles in its attempt to impose the restricted overnight parking.
The application for Venice permit parking was made by an official of the city’s Dept. of Transportation, with the urging of some Venice residents who see the permits as a way to eliminate recreational vehicles from the streets.
RV owners would be ineligible for permits unless they also had a valid stationary address in Venice. Also ineligible for permits would be all residents who live between Speedway and Ocean Front Walk. In addition, residents of Venice walk streets would have no say on whether surrounding streets required permits.
The California Coastal Commission is likely to take up the appeals at its meeting in early February.
On December 19 & 21, Venice Food Not Bombs continued their tradition of resurrecting prominent leftists and bringing them to Venice. KB Solomon brought Paul Robeson’s songs and activism to life at the United Methodist Church’s Peace and Justice Hall. The year before, Karl Marx; this year Che?
On December 15, a small “Public Notice” sign was taped to the front door of the Venice Post Office. It informed anyone who took the time to read it that the postal service was considering selling the carrier annex, located across the street (313 Grand Blvd.). It went on to state, “We invite your comments regarding this disposal action by December 31, 2008.”
In other words, if you noticed the sign on Dec. 15, you had two weeks to comment on the “disposal” of an important piece of property in the center of town. Otherwise, tough luck. To make matters worse, the person to whom the comments were to be addressed, Gloria Charlson, is on vacation until Jan. 5. Sorry if you had any questions about the “disposal.” Efforts by the Beachhead to reach a live person at the Pacific Facilities Service Office, where Ms. Charlson works, were unsuccessful.
Post Office trucks park on the lot and letter carriers sort our mail in the former Safeway supermarket building on the site. If the P.O. has its way, the 1.78 acre site may end up as a hotel, luxury condominiums, or an upscale shopping mall. Other uses that Venetians have mentioned are low-income housing, a transitional living center, a Venice museum, and/or a park.
Why is the Post Office anxious to sell this valuable parcel at a time when property values are tanking? Why is there such a short time for Venice residents to comment on the proposed sale?
One visitor to the Post Office, Lisa Aycock, was able to contact Charlson before she left on vacation. Aycock told the Beachhead that Charlson said the space is underutilized and that the postal service needs money. Aycock was also able to learn that the only postings were to the Mayor’s office, city and county officials and on the door of the post office.
This sale that can have a huge effect on Venice, depending on what is built here. What can you do about it? Contact Gloria Charlson by letter (USPS, Pacific Facilities Service Office, 395 Oyster Point Blvd. #225, South San Francisco, CA 94080-0300), email (email@example.com) or phone (650-615-7264) and explain that you only found out about the proposed sale when you read about it in the newspaper. Tell her you want a longer period to comment, better notification (at least to neighbors within 500 feet of the property), and a public hearing to be held in Venice.
If you have ideas for future uses of the site, include them in your communication. If you don’t want the property sold, at least until property values rise again, say that as well.
With 3 helicopters circling overhead on the evening of December 10, there was bound to be something happening. Arriving at Palms, east of Lincoln, it turned out to be a two alarm fire. The Beachhead, first on the scene, discovered that this was the second fire at the same address in just as many months.
(While) “There is nothing suspicious,” says Battalion Chief Boyd of LA Fire Department Battalion 4, “because of there being a second fire in so short a time, the arson squad would be investigating. The first fire was not arson,” Chief Boyd was quick to point out.
However, it is interesting to note that the same building had been scheduled for demolition the following day. This proved fortunate as no one was injured or killed in the blaze.
One suggestion to the cause came from a witness who preferred to remain anonymous saying that it was the wiring. This is a possibility as another witness noted that the owners were known for doing their own repairs.
Venice’s own Engine 63 participated in putting the fire out in just 15 minutes, which prevented it from spreading further to the neighboring houses. Bravo to a job well done.