It’s been 25 years since the historic Los Angeles Public Library fire, which occurred on April 29, 1986. See an article about it here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/04/los-angeles-public-library-fire.html. As the article notes, over 400,000 items were destroyed and many, many more were damaged by smoke and water. Other reports note that everyone was evacuated safely from the building–the initial alarm sounded at 10:52 AM. It took hundreds of firefighters and supporting resources from around the area to suppress the fire; the report from the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Historical Society, cited in the article, notes that the fire was declared a “knock down” at 6:30 PM. The fire was started by an arsonist in one of the stacks areas of the library. The Library re-opened to the public in October of 1993.