Church in Westlake damaged by fire

WESTLAKE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Beacon, a Korean-American Presbyterian church in Westlake, was damaged by a fire overnight.

Firefighters say a huge ball of fire was seen coming from the church on the 900 block of Westlake Avenue around 1:28 a.m.

Crews arriving on scene had to saw through a gate to get to the flames in a play area of the church. They were able to knock down the blaze in less than 20 minutes.

Residents in a nearby apartment building evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

Fire officials say the church is structurally fine but it lost a portion of its front office.

Because a church was involved in the fire, a special task force has been assigned to investigate the incident.

"Our perspective here in the street, it doesn't look like the fire was actually intended to start the church on fire. Because the fire did expose the church, it's a protocol for our department to launch our (House of Worship Arson Task Force)," said LAFD Capt. Sean Conway.

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