Fire Consumes Vacant Downtown Los Angeles Church

Friday, August 27, 2021

A greater alarm fire swept through a vacant church near downtown Los Angeles Friday night, destroying the former house of worship, but thankfully causing no injury.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned by the first of several 9-1-1 calls at 7:47 PM on August 27, 2021, reporting an outside fire along the Washington Boulevard corridor at Naomi Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy fire on the second floor of a nearby vacant two story church at 1376 East 18th Street, and additional resources were immediately requested.

With fire moving furiously, to soon involve both floors of the 7,151 square-foot building, as well as its 75' tall steeple, firefighters moved boldly into defensive operations, deploying multiple large diameter hose lines from the exterior, including at least three atop extended aerial ladders, to push back the flames.

Though successful in preventing fire from extending into nearby businesses, firefighters were challenged not only by intense heat, smoke and flames, but by arcing and falling of energized high voltage power lines, as well as the structural compromise and collapse of the 118 year-old building's roof and walls less than a half-hour into the firefight.

It took the well-coordinated effort of 116 LAFD Firefighters under the command of Assistant Chief Kady Kepner, just 2 hours and 16 minutes to fully contain and largely extinguish fire within the unoccupied two-story structure, which in recent months housed the Christian Light Missionary Baptist Church, but did not appear to be actively serving as a house of worship at the time of the fire.

LAFD personnel worked at the scene into mid-morning Saturday to abate physical hazards, further extinguish smoldering debris and support the fire cause investigation.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

Dispatched LAFD Units: E10 T10 E210 E10 RA810 E9 E209 RA17 E221 T21 SQ21 BC1 BC11 RA814 E264 T64 E17 E233 T33 E15 CM22 EM1 BC18 T3 E203 UR3 HR3 RA3 RA803 E27 UR88 BC5 T35 E235 BC13 AR1 E20 E211 T11 RA209 RA9 EM11 EM13 E1 EA1 PI2 HE1 E21 T61 E261 T15 E215 E33 E14 T94 E294 T61 E261 HE1 RS3 T29 E229 T3 E203

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