THREE CALIF FIREFIGHTERS HURT IN CHURCH FIRE, COLLAPSE

By CBS Los Angeles:

Three firefighters were injured while battling a church fire in South Park overnight Sunday.

The fire broke out at the Victory Baptist Church just after 3 a.m. and resulted in more than 100 firefighters responding. They battled intense flames for more than an hour and a half.

“There was a structural collapse inside, trapping several LAFD members,” Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department. “Two consecutive mayday calls were put out on the radio alerting the fire ground of trapped firefighters. Nearby crews quickly affected a rescue of three firefighters. One was transported immediately to a local hospital in moderate condition, while a second finished battling the fire and was transported in fair condition after the flames were declared to be knocked down. The third followed up with care on his own after the incident,” Prange said.

After the collapse inside the building, crews withdrew into defensive operations, pouring water onto the flames from outside the building. The fire was extinguished in an hour and 40 minutes, Prange said.

Arson investigators and members of the House of Worship Task Force, a multi-agency effort that seeks to identify and capture individuals who target churches in Los Angeles, began their inquiry into the possibility the fire had been set purposefully, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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