SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — An investigation is underway into the cause of a fire that gutted a church in South Los Angeles early Friday morning.
The fire was reported at 1:54 a.m. at Bethesda Temple Church, located at 4936 Crenshaw Boulevard.
Fourteen fire engines and 90 personnel responded to the scene. It took them about 50 minutes to put out the blaze.
There were no reports of any injuries.
Arson investigators were at the scene, and an accelerant-detecting K-9 was being brought in as well.
“We’re treating it as a criminal fire at this time, suspicious in nature until we can determine otherwise,” said LAFD Capt. Jaime Moore.
“When we have a house of worship like this, the Los Angeles Fire Department calls out the House of Worship Task Force,” he explained.
The task force is made up of the LAFD, the Los Angeles Police Department, the ATF and the FBI.
Meantime, many worshipers were devastated at the loss of their church, an area institution that was built in 1952.
“This is the church where we worship at… It’s burned down, but we are the church, you know,” one woman said. “So we’ll just rebuild and keep praising the Lord.”