Fire Guts South Los Angeles Church

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

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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