Massive blaze tears through abandoned church near downtown Los Angeles

ByLeo Stallworth and staff KABC logo
Thursday, October 4, 2018
LAFD responds to inferno at abandoned church near downtown
A dramatic fire erupted at an abandoned church in University Park, prompting a response from Los Angeles firefighters.

UNIVERSITY PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A dramatic fire erupted Thursday morning at an abandoned church in University Park, prompting a response from more than 130 Los Angeles firefighters.

The stubborn blaze erupted shortly before 6:30 a.m. at a 19,811-square-foot, two-story structure in the 700 block of Washington Boulevard, according to the LAFD.

The intensity of the flames initially forced the firefighters to assume a defensive position. They later attacked the fire with hoses on the ground and atop the church, which was constructed in 1924.

No injuries were immediately reported.

More than an hour after the firefight began, Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said crews were making "good progress" against the blaze.

"The first arriving firefighters got on scene and saw the large two-story structure with extensive fire billowing out the front door and second-story windows," Scott said. "We may have had a brief offensive attack, however we were driven back by the intense flames."

The blaze sent plumes of thick, black smoke up into the air over nearby freeways, causing traffic havoc for hours.

"Firefighters strategically surrounded all sides of the building and have been pouring water from the outside in," Scott said.

The cause of the fire is unknown.