Fire at historic Watts church under investigation

Los Angeles fire investigators are trying to determine what started a fire at a historic church in Watts over the weekend that charred the roof and interior of the nearly 100-year-old sanctuary.

The fire at St. John’s United Methodist Church in the 1700 block of Santa Ana Boulevard began around 11:20 a.m. Saturday in the vegetation outside the church before spreading inside the place of worship two-story, according to preliminary information from the Los Angeles Fire Department. .

About 80 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly an hour before finally extinguishing the blaze, according to LAFD.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Arson investigators responded to the scene, as did protocol for fires in places of worship, LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange said.

According to KCBS-TV, no one was inside the 98-year-old church when the fire broke out and spread through the sanctuary. Video from the TV channel showed the church’s charred interior, its roof and a blackened steeple.

Reverend Kathey M. Wilborn said on Facebook that she was on her way to a hair appointment when she received a call about her church burning.

“And that’s where I came in,” Wilborn said, standing outside the building surrounded by fire trucks. “Let us be in prayer for the witness. Pray for these firefighters. Pray for the people of St. John’s United Methodist Church, the church in Watts that has Watts at heart.

Sunday morning services were to begin at 10:30 a.m. in the church parking lot.

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