Home Us church Homeless man arrested on suspicion of burning down historic Los Angeles church – Press Telegram

Homeless man arrested on suspicion of burning down historic Los Angeles church – Press Telegram

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A homeless man was in police custody on Monday September 19 for allegedly start a fire that destroyed a historic church in South Los Angeles and injured three firefighters, authorities said.

Carlos Diaz, 23, was arrested Sunday and jailed on suspicion of arson of a structure, with additional charges pending, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire was reported at 2:22 a.m. Sept. 11 at the two-story Victory Baptist Church, 4802 S. McKinley Ave.

“LAFD arson investigators and the House of Worship Multi-Agency Arson Task Force have opened an investigation into the cause of the fire,” an LAFD statement said. “Initial information revealed no immediate evidence of an intentional fire; however, their (investigators’) persistence later revealed security footage to help connect the dots.

The joint investigation included personnel from the Los Angeles School Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Investigators were aided by eyewitnesses.

Around 150 firefighters were dispatched to the fire on 9/11.

“Crews first entered to find heavy smoke inside the structure,” Nicholas Prange, an LAFD spokesman, said in a statement. “As firefighters entered, inevitably introducing more air to the conditions inside, the fire behavior rapidly worsened. About 30 minutes after firefighters arrived, there was a structural collapse inside, trapping several LAFD members.

Crews quickly rescued three firefighters. One was taken to hospital in moderate condition, a second finished fighting the fire and was later hospitalized in fair condition, and a third followed alone with care after the incident, Prange said. .

Victory Baptist Church has been a spiritual center for the black community in Los Angeles for decades and a site of major significance for gospel music and the civil rights movement. Mahalia Jackson was one of many acclaimed gospel singers to perform there, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the church on several occasions.

The church was founded by Arthur Atlas Peters on Easter Sunday in 1943 and moved to the building on McKinley Avenue in 1944. Pastor W. Edward Jenkins swore the church would continue.