South LA church burns in overnight fire – NBC Los Angeles

California

Firefighters knocked down a fire early Friday at the site of the historic Crouch Memorial Church of God and Christ in South Los Angeles.

The fire was reported at about 2:30 a.m. at the century-old church in the 1000 block of East 27th St. near Central Avenue. The vacant structure was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

A partial collapse was reported, but no one was injured. Details about how the fire started were not immediately available.

A fire that started from a wall heater in a prayer room damaged the attic and roof of the church in October 2013. The owners of the church planned to restore the church structure.

The church was designed by John C. Austin, the prolific architect behind Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium, Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles City Hall, Los Angeles High School and other schools, Web House, Hollywood Masonic Temple, several Methodist churches and other structures. The church building was completed in December 1905.

The century-old church that was lost in a dangerous Tuesday morning fire in South Los Angeles was a community landmark. Patrick Healy reports from South Los Angeles for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2013.

The congregation moved to Los Angeles’ Westside in 1922 and sold to the Beth Eden Baptist Temple, a Black congregation. In the early 1940s, the property was acquired by Elder Henry and Evangelist Emma Cotton, then donated around 1950 by the Cottons to Bishop Samuel Crouch and the Southern California First Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ, according to the church’s web site.

The church became the center of the prohibition movement in Los Angeles in the early years of the 20th century.

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