LA'' s Getty Center developed to protect its treasures from flames

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Reed Saxon/ AP The Getty Center is seen after a wildfire swept through Los Angeles’ Bel Air neighborhood Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. The Getty Center, the $1 billion home to the J. Paul Getty Museum and associated organizations, bases on the west side of Sepulveda Pass. The fire did not immediately cross the large area of the pass to the Getty side, but if it had, the facility is prepared.

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017|1 a.m.

LOS ANGELES– The Getty Center art complex in Los Angeles ensured it might protect its valuable art work and antiquities from flames like those simply across a freeway Wednesday, from its landscaping to an area for helicopters to land.

Authorities state fire defense was developed into the facility by architect Richard Meier, consisting of the thickness of the walls and doors to separate any flames. The $1 billion home of the J. Paul Getty Museum sits in the Santa Monica Mountains and has been closed to avoid damage to its works from smoke from numerous wildfires.

Its collections vary from pre-20th century European paintings to Roman and Greek antiquities, tapestries, pictures and manuscripts, all secured by substantial anti-fire systems outside and in.

Smoke detection and sprinklers are ever-present at the center, together with pressurization systems to keep smoke out or reverse flow if it does get in.

The center has its own reservoir to supply suppression systems if required, and there is an on-site helipad to fill helicopters with water. Hydrants throughout the property are fed from a large-diameter loop.

The instant zone around the structure is kept green with fireproof plants, and the extensive area surrounding the school is carefully kept clear of lawns. Canopies of oak trees also serve to suppress the development of plants that might feed a blaze.

The Getty Center is on the west side of Interstate 405, and the fire ignited on the east side. It rapidly raced up steep slopes into the rich areas of the Bel-Air location, ruining some houses as firemens and aircraft looked for to beat it down. In spite of strong winds, the blaze did not leap the highway.

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