A fire at the storied corner of Hollywood and Vine spit flames 40 feet into the air Wednesday, burning close to landmarks like the Capitol Records building and the Pantages Theater.
The one-story building is home to the Basque Nightclub & Restaurant, but it was not open at the time and no injuries were reported, Los Angeles City Fire spokeswoman d'Lisa Davies said.
The fire covered the area in choking smoke.
Council Tom LaBonge said he was hiking near the Griffith Park Observatory at 5:45 a.m. when he saw the fire erupt a few miles away. "I saw what looked like an orange meteor busting through the roof ... a half moon of orange glow."
The corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street was a mecca for stars and fans in Hollywood's Golden Era when many nightclubs were nearby. The famed art deco Pantages Theatre is just steps to the east.
Hollywood likes to call it the world's "most famous intersection in the most famous neighborhood."
Built in the 1920s or '30s, the building that burned has been a Howard Johnson's, a nightclub called Deep, a music studio and other businesses through the years.
Four businesses were damaged — the nightclub, a tattoo parlor, a beauty supply company and a vacant shoe store.
Battalion Chief Ronnie Villanueva said firefighters were lucky because the fire took place so early and engines could get through the normally clogged streets.
Arson investigators were on scene, he said.