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Thunderstorm microburst rips roof off historic Needles movie theater

September 4, 2012 | 10:24 pm

Needles theater damage

A microburst from a wicked desert thunderstorm Tuesday ripped the roof off the old Needles movie theater and damaged several other building in the tiny town.

Larry Ford, who worked at the theater in the 1950s and helps maintain the historic building, said the owner does not have insurance.

"He said he couldn't get insurance," Ford said. "Ripped the roof clean off."

The building is an old Masonic Temple, built in 1929 on Broadway street in downtown Needles. The heat-generated storm hit Needles about 5:30 p.m. The winds were so strong that the raindrops were being blown sideways.

"It looked like a hurricane," said Patti Morgan, who owns a four-plex next door to the movie theater. "It was going in all different directions."


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-- Phil Willon in Needles

Photo: Larry Ford calls the owner of the old Needles theater to tell him about the damage. Credit: Phil Willon / Los Angeles Times