Firefighters Extinguish Fires at 2 Churches in South L.A. Area; 1 Investigated as Arson

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Firefighters early Thursday morning extinguished fires at two South Los Angeles-area churches. One of the incidents was being investigated as arson while the other was deemed accidental, officials said.

A firefighter uses an electrical saw to open a door at a South L.A.-area church where a fire broke out on Thursday, July 9, 2015. (Credit: RMG News)

A firefighter uses an electrical saw to open a door at a South L.A.-area church where a fire broke out on Thursday, July 9, 2015. (Credit: RMG News)

The first blaze broke out about 12:30 a.m. in a room adjacent to the Starlight Baptist Church, located in the 8500 block of South San Pedro Street, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

News video showed a firefighter using an electrical saw to remove a wrought-iron door while flames emanated from inside.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which was knocked down within about 15 minutes, the LAFD said.

At a news conference, LAFD Senior Arson Investigator David Liske said the fire was "intentionally set" but he declined to say how.

"It would appear this is more related to a dispute between persons who live in this room on the side," Liske said. "It's not really directed at the church."

The fire was not believed to be racially motivated or connected to other recent church fires, LAFD stated in an alert.

No one was in custody in connection with the incident, which occurred in L.A.'s Florence neighborhood.

About 1 a.m., the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded after flames erupted in the attic of a single-story church in the 8300 block of Compton Avenue in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone area, about 1 1/2 miles away from the first fire.

The blaze was put out by 1:16 a.m. and was later deemed accidental, investigators said.

No one was injured, according to the county Fire Department.