Fire Destroys Building at Pasadena Community and Learning Center

The blaze took down a building that provides learning opportunities for children in a low-income community

By Melissa Pamer
|  Saturday, Nov 17, 2012  |  Updated 8:12 PM PDT
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Fire Destroys Pasadena Neighborhood Center

Pasadena Fire Department

Firefighters battle a fire that destoyed a community center in Pasadena early Saturday.

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An early morning fire at a nonprofit community center in Pasadena on Saturday destroyed a building and sent skyward smoke and heavy flames that were visible from the Foothill (210) Freeway.

The fire was reported at nonprofit Neighbors Acting Together Helping All (NATHA), at 456 W. Montana Street (map) at 5:45 a.m. Saturday.

When firefighters arrived, they found heavy fire through the roof and the building's "structural integrity" compromised, forcing them to go into "defensive mode," Lisa Derderian of the Pasadena Fire Department said.

The blaze was put out in about 45 minutes, she said. More than 40 firefighters were on scene.

There was an estimated $1.5 million in damage to the building and $250,000 to its contents.

The department originally said the fire was at Opportunities for Learning Day Care Charter School, but that was amended to say the blaze consumed a building at NATHA. It's not clear if the two organizations are related.

NATHA's website states that it is a grassroots neighborhood improvement association that began operating in 1991 and now focuses on youth and community development programs in a low-income area of Pasadena.

It offers learning programs for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, the site states.

It's not clear how the fire started.

The blaze may have triggered a break-in alarm, initially leading to suspicion of a burglary, Derderian said.


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