Survivors Mark 50th Anniversary of Baldwin Hills Dam Collapse

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Several survivors were among those who attended a memorial ceremony Saturday that marked the 50th anniversary of the collapse of the old Baldwin Hills Reservoir.

Hundreds filed into a grassy valley that now sprawls over what had been a 66-foot-deep reservoir with a capacity to store 292 million gallons of drinking water until its earthen wall ruptured Dec. 14, 1963, and sent a 50-foot surge of water roaring into homes and cars along nearby Cloverdale Avenue.

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Ruth and Fred Kong look at large photo reproductions of the dam collapse in Baldwin Hills during Saturday’s ceremony marking the 50th anniversary. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times / December 14, 2013)

Five people were killed, 65 hillside homes were destroyed and 210 other homes and apartments were damaged in an area between Jefferson and La Cienega boulevards and La Brea Avenue.

The father of Barbara Whitaker, a 76-year-old retired executive assistant from Irvine, was one of those who died. Archie V. MacDonald was 71 when he helped his wife, Marie, escape from the 627-unit Village Green residential complex.

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