BALDWIN HILLS (CBSLA.com) — It was a gash in the dam that supplied all the drinking water for West Los Angeles that caused five deaths, loss of 65 homes and left 210 others damaged.
CBS2’s Dave Lopez recalls the 1963 Baldwin Hills dam disaster.
The 75-foot gap let 292 million gallons of water to flow down the canyon in just over an hour.
“I thought living in Los Angeles we were immune to those kind of events,” Kenneth Robinson said. He was 14 at the time and lived just off Jefferson Boulevard and somewhat out of danger. “Leave your belongings and just go ahead to safe parts of the city,” he and his family were told.
Robert Simmons was 16 at the time and said the mud covered La Brea and Rodeo.
“I could not tell where the sidewalk ended.”
The area of the dam is now a park.
Dams don’t fail very often in California, but when they do, the results can be catastrophic.