Fire officials are investigating whether a fire ignited at a Boyle Heights church early Thursday morning was an incidence of arson, and looking into whether it could be connected to other recent incidents.
Firefighters first responded to the flames that broke out at Resurrection Catholic Church on the 3300 block of East Opal Street just after 2 a.m., said Capt. Erik Scott with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
It took 62 firefighters just under 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze.
The inferno sparked on the first of the church’s two floors and was mostly contained there, charring the main entrance and vestibule.
The worship area itself was not damaged and no injuries were reported, officials said.
After the flames were knocked down, firefighters discovered vandalism on both the interior and exterior, including to some statues that surround the structure’s exterior.
Frank Naranjo told KTLA he and his fiancee, Alicia Torres, had planned to wed at Resurrection Church on Saturday. The couple, both of whom grew up and continue to live in East Los Angeles, is devastated.
Although Naranjo originally believe the wedding would go on in a different location, he and Torres later informed KTLA it had been cancelled.
“It’s really sad,” Naranjo said. “We went through all this planning for over six months, family coming from out of town and out of state. They’re here now and there’s no church.”
Authorities are still searching for those responsible for setting fire to a 129-year-old church in Pasadena earlier this month.
Vandalism was also involved in that incidence, which occurred at an Episcopal church, according to the Los Angeles Times. The graffiti spray-painted on that church’s sidewalk can be further connected to similar markings left at a San Fernando church in November 2016, the newspaper reported.
Last February, West Covina police opened a felony hate crime investigation after a church there was vandalized with graffiti on its walls, statues and pavement.
Full story at ktla.com.
Hope that the real culprit would pay for what they had done. Well let’s just pray to God that they’ll be caught right away.
If this was a mosque, everyone in the government would be looking for persons committing hate crimes
Any desecration of any house of worship is a hate crime against that congregation as well as all of us. I hope law enforcement pursues all of these incidents to see if they are related or copy cat events.
This story strikes “close to home” for me, since, like most deacons, I have a secular profession. I am a Fire Department arson investigator. I’m pretty confident this fire will be thoroughly investigated and, if arson, all efforts made to apprehend the perpetrator. Fires in all places of worship are under the jurisdiction of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), but, almost certainly, local Fire and law enforcement will be involved.
As I’ve urged pastors I know here in northern California:
Report all acts of vandalism to the police and all fires, no matter how small, to your local Fire Department.
Consider having working video cameras on your church property and adequate exterior lighting.
Why cancel the wedding? Nobody thought to call around to other parishes to see whether one was available? Twenty minutes of the Rite of Christian Matrimony outside of Mass and you’re married. That’s all it would have taken. The ceremony could have been celebrated in the parish parking lot or hall under the circumstances. So what if you don’t get the pretty church, pictures, music, and so forth? I thought the important thing was to exchange consent. I’m disappointed that neither the man nor woman, nobody in the family, nobody at the parish, nor the priest avoided canceling the wedding. I have to question whether getting married is really important to the couple after all.
Judge not lest you also be judged.