Fire Guts South Los Angeles Church

A fire broke out at 2 a.m. at the Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church

By Annette Arreola and Jason Kandel
|  Sunday, Apr 28, 2013  |  Updated 1:22 PM PDT
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The Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church was gutted by an early morning fire Friday. The building was destroyed, but the fire did not kill the spirit of the congregation. Parishioners are already making plans to rebuild the church. Kathy Vara reports from Leimert Park for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 26, 2013.

Kathy Vara

The Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church was gutted by an early morning fire Friday. The building was destroyed, but the fire did not kill the spirit of the congregation. Parishioners are already making plans to rebuild the church. Kathy Vara reports from Leimert Park for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 26, 2013.

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Fire Guts South Los Angeles Church

The Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church at 4939 Crenshaw Blvd. in South Los Angeles was destroyed by a fire. Annette Arreola reports from South Los Angeles for NBC4's News at Noon on Friday, April 26, 2013.

Fire Rips through South LA Church

The Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church at 4939 Crenshaw Blvd. in South Los Angeles was destroyed by a fire. Annette Arreola reports for Today in LA on Friday, April 26, 2013.
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Arson investigators were sifting on Friday through the rubble of a church in South Los Angeles for clues into what started a fire that gutted the building.

The House of Worship Arson Task Force, made up of local, state and federal authorities, was looking into what might have caused the fire that broke out at 2 a.m. at the Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church at 4939 Crenshaw Blvd., said Katherine Main of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

No injuries have been reported.

A special task force was investigating the fire, trying to pinpoint its origin.

“When I got here I couldn’t believe it,” said Pastor Ernest Alexander, who founded the church 25 years ago.

“I was shocked ... It was difficult to handle.”

Marilyn Alexander, the choir director and the pastor's daughter in law, said churchgoers had been practicing for Sunday service on Thursday night and were devastated.

Despite the loss, though, she remained upbeat.

“As a congregation we’ll go on,” she said.

Parishoners were trying to salvage musical instruments and furniture on Friday afternoon.

A restaurant down the street had offered its banquet hall for Sunday services.

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