LA church fire: Parishioners hold 1st Sunday service since blaze


Church members gathered at Soul Enrichment Church in South Los Angeles for a morning service. Pastor Lawrence Magee told the congregation that even though it has been a difficult week, they have a lot to be grateful for, and he believes something good will come of the devastating fire that destroyed their historic church.

The two-story church in the 1000 block of E. 27th Street was gutted by flames Tuesday morning. The fire raged for hours. Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze, but they couldn't save the sanctuary. Three firefighters were injured.

Crews were able to salvage a few items from the burning church, including an organ.

"We had a connection with that community. Crouch Memorial was a fixture in that community for over 100 years," said Pastor Magee.

"We have so much history there. That church was a part of my family for I'd say over 60-70 years," said church member Sherri Gonzalez.

Crouch Memorial Church was built in 1895 and is located in a historic district south of downtown. It was the center of the prohibition movement in L.A. in the early 1900s.

Fire officials say the blaze that destroyed the 19th century building was accidental. They say the fire started near a heater vent in the attic.

Though flames destroyed the wood structure, church members say they have a lot of great memories to hold on to.

"The church itself had a natural vibe because you could feel all the prayers and all the sanctification that had gone on in the church for years. It just breaks my heart to see it go," said church member Wayne Jingles.

Other churches in the area have also opened their doors to Crouch Memorial Church parishioners so that they can hold worship services until they can rebuild.

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