View Full Version : Long Beach Sports Bar Gutted By Fire

06-21-05, 06:29 PM
Sent to me by Mark aka The Fontman

Long Beach Sports Bar Gutted By Fire

Dozens of firefighters fought the blaze that was reported about 5 a.m. at Legends Sports Bar, which boasted a large collection of sports memorabilia.

By Wendy Thermos
Times Staff Writer

June 21, 2005, 12:06 PM PDT

Memorabilia from baseball great Stan Musial and other professional athletes and Olympians went up in flames this morning as a fire gutted a popular sports bar in the upscale Belmont Shore area of Long Beach.

Dozens of firefighters fought the blaze that was reported about 5 a.m. at Legends sports bar and restaurant, which displayed hundreds of items of sports memorabilia.

After the fire was extinguished about 8 a.m., the owners sifted through waterlogged rubble in hopes of salvaging some of the signed photos, bats, jerseys, boxing gloves and other items. But nearly all of it was in ruins.

"We had things that cannot be replaced -- shoes, jerseys, boxing gloves, you name it," said Ray Ann Rotondo, who operated the business with her husband, Gene.

Firefighters were able to rescue a few items from the flames, including a basketball autographed by Larry Byrd.

"We found a few bats, a few pictures, that's about it," said Ray Ann Rotondo, "We're removing the pictures from the frames so they don't stick. A neighbor opened his garage to us and is allowing us to put things there."

Many of the items were autographed.

"We had a bat, jersey and photo signed by Stan Musial, all in one display," Rotondo said.

The collection also included some offbeat items.

"Lithuania couldn't afford uniforms for one of the Olympics, so the Grateful Dead purchased the uniforms for them. They were tie-dyed in psychedelic colors, and we had one of those," Rotondo said.

Many of the items were purchased by her husband, a nostalgia hound, and others were donated by athletes.

The fire in the 5200 block of East 2nd Street proved to be stubborn. The flames, believed to have started in the attic, burned for nearly three hours and caused the entire roof to collapse.

Officials said the cause of the blaze was unknown. No injuries were reported.

Rotondo said the building had been there since the early 1900s. She and her husband are already planning to reopen in the same spot. "The landlord wants to rebuild," she said.

About 50 employees were put out of work by the fire.

Neighbors of the popular bar, located on a commercial strip, said they grew nervous as they watched firefighters struggle with the flames.

"Worried? Yeah!" said Maria Gonzalez, an employee at Sweet Jill's bakery, located two stores down from Legends. "It was kind of getting bad, and then a lot of firetrucks started coming and coming, and I was like, 'What's going on? It's kind of getting worse!'"

According to its website, the bar had 20 high-definition plasma screen televisions and nine high-definition screen monitors. "It's real, real popular. There's always a crowd," Gonzalez said.

Times staff writers Alicia Wittmeyer and Karen Tapia contributed to this story.


Heart Breaking!

I was there in 1978...
Lots of Memories Lost

06-21-05, 07:40 PM
A damn shame! You would think with a collection of that size and value they would have had a better sprinkler system!?