Authorities have arrested a homeless man in connection with a fire that destroyed a century-old church in South Central Los Angeles earlier this month.
Carlos Diaz, 23, was taken into custody Sunday, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced. He faces an arson charge for allegedly setting fire to the Victory Baptist Church, located at 4802 S. McKinley Ave., on Sept. 11.
Fire crews responded to the church shortly after 2:00 a.m. to find the building fully engulfed.
One firefighter was seriously injured when the roof collapsed on top of him, fire officials said. Two other firefighters suffered minor injuries.
“LAFD Arson Investigators and the multi-agency House of Worship Arson Task Force initiated an investigation into the fire’s cause,” LAFD said in a news release Monday. “Initial information did not immediately reveal any evidence of an intentionally set fire, however, their persistence later uncovered security footage to help connect the dots.”
Investigators with LAFD and the Los Angeles Schools Police Department conducted a joint surveillance operation in the South Los Angeles area where Diaz was arrested.
“The faithful investigators from several agencies worked hard to put the pieces together to apprehend the suspect and quickly get him off the streets, with the help of key eyewitness testimony,” LAFD said.