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Three firefighters were injured battling a fire at a century-old church in South Central Los Angeles early Sunday, including one firefighter who needed to be rescued when the ceiling collapsed on him, authorities said.

Fire crews responded to Victory Baptist Church at 4802 S. Mckinley Ave. around 2:20 a.m. and immediately encountered intense flames and smoke as they rushed inside to try to save the church.

About 25 minutes into the battle, crews sent out a “mayday” call.

“The mayday was an announcement of an emergency…where we had a partial roof collapse of this building while firefighters were inside mounting an attack,” said David Ortiz, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. “The firefighters…had to cut away material that had trapped (a crew) member when the ceiling and the walls collapsed on him.”

The injured firefighter was transported to a local hospital injuries that were not believe to be life-threatening.

3 firefighters hurt battling church fire
3 firefighters were injured battling a fire at Victory Baptist Church (4802 S Mckinley Avenue). Sept. 11, 2022. (OnScene.TV)

Two other firefighters sustained minor injuries as church walls, which were made of heavy plaster, crumbled to the ground.

The building could not be saved, Ortiz said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, including by LAFD’s arson unit.