Fire Damages Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights

By EGP Staff Report

A “suspicious” fire damaged a Catholic church in Boyle Heights that also serves as a center for community activism this morning, and an investigation is underway to find the cause.

Flames were reported at 2:05 a.m. at Resurrection Church, located at 3345 E. Opal St. in Boyle Heights. No one was injured, according to fire officials.

The multi-agency House of Worship Task Force has been sent to investigate.

The fire was primarily centered on the first floor of the church, and the flames were kept from the main sanctuary, said Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott. He said there were signs of vandalism at the scene, and the cause of the fire “appears to be suspicious.”

The fire was doused by 62 firefighters in 26 minutes, according to Margaret Stewart of the fire department. Firefighters were conducting extensive salvage operations and water removal, Stewart said.

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) said he and his family regularly attend the church and he heard the “heartbreaking news” about the “fire and vandalism” when he awoke this morning.

“I pledge to do everything in my power to assist law enforcement in hunting down the perpetrators of this crime,” said Santiago in a statement released earlier today.

“…my wife, Celina, and I will keep the church and its parishioners in our thoughts and prayers moving forward,” he said, adding that he does not “understand this sort of senseless vandalism.”

Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar said he met with the church’s pastor, Monsignor John Moretta, early this morning. He also said he has been briefed by LAPD and LAFD inspectors.

“What I can share for now is the LAPD and LAFD investigators assured me that they will do everything in their power to get to the bottom of what caused the fire,” said Huizar, explaining he could not be more specific because there’s an ongoing investigation.

“I assured Monsignor Moretta that we will do everything in our power to help them rebuild and come back stronger than ever,” Huizar said in a press statement.

“Monsignor Moretta and Resurrection Church have led so many battles to help Boyle Heights. We stand ready to return the favor,” the councilman said.

While every fire, especially to a church, can take a toll, the fire at Resurrection Church is especially troublesome to the people who seek not only spiritual guidance there, but also the many social services offered to parishioners and non-parishioners alike.

“Resurrection Church is a symbol of the heart of Boyle Heights,” said Santiago.

“It is the community’s meeting center; the lifeblood of Boyle Heights in the food, services, education, and shelter it provides to our residents,” he said.

“Our community will rebuild and be stronger than ever.”

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January 25, 2018  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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