The three firefighters were battling flames at the Crouch Memorial Church of God and Christ at 1001 E. 27th Street this morning. Two of the firefighters fell from the second floor to the frst after the roof of the church collapsed and had to be rescued. The third injured firefighter received an electric shock while engaged on the fire. The LAFD describes their injuries as non-life threatening, but one of the men was expected to be kept in the hospital overnight.
The church is located within the 27th Street Historic District in South Los Angeles, listed on the National Register of Historic Place. Regarding the church, a Wikipedia entry says the "Romanesque Revival style church located at the northeast corner of E. 27th Street and Paloma Avenue...was built from 1895 to 1896 for the Haven Methodist Episcopal Church. In the early 1900s, the church was a center of the city's prohibition movement....In the early 1920s, as the demographics of the neighborhood changed, the Haven Methodist congregation moved to a new location on South Normandie, and the church building at 21st and Paloma was sold to the Beth Eden Baptist Temple, an African-American congregation."
At the scene, pastor Lawrence Magee told reporters the fire began after he lit the structure's wall heater.
* Evening update: Two of the firefighters were did not need to be admitted to the hospital and the third is expected to get out Wednesday, the LAFD said tonight in a recap of the incident. The church is a total loss monetarily, the LAFD says, but Pastor Magee vowed to rebuild. From the fire department news blog:
Firefighters were summoned at 9:27 AM to 1001 E 27th Street in South L.A. where they found a large two-story church with fire blowing out of the attic. Firefighters assumed an immediate aggressive attack with hose-lines inside the dark, hot interior and up to the second floor. Within fifteen minutes into the battle, a loud crash was heard outside as portions of the attic and second floor suddenly fell. A firefighter on the second story rode the floor down as it dropped to the first story. He was trapped in heavy burning debris and had to utilize his emergency air canister to breathe.
"I got fire all around me... I got fire all around me." - Chilling radio traffic from the trapped firefighter inside the inferno.
Then a sense of relief...
"We have the firefighter... we are taking him out the front door." - Radio transmission.
Shortly thereafter the trapped firefighter was carried down the church steps to safety.
Parishioners came to the church after the flames were doused to salvage the organ and other items.
Top photo: CBS LA screen grab. Lower photo: Wikipedia