Church Caught Ablaze Along The Washington Blvd Corridor

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 |

On Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 7:15 PM, 11 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 5 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 4 Arson Units, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief David Yamahata responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 528 E. Washington Bl. in Washington Blvd Corridor.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and fire coming out from a Church in a local neighborhood just outside downtown Los Angeles. A large column of smoke and flames were visible from the street surrounding the incident, with a school and local businesses just a stone throw away. As fire teams mounted a strategy, a significant amount of the flames had to be suppressed before the initial fire attack team could enter the building.

Roof teams quickly made their way up ladders to the top of the structure to cut ventilation holes to release the smoke and super heated gases. Fire crews aggressively advanced hose-lines, to begin extinguishing the flames, but were immediately met with an additional challenge of protecting adjacent structure from the heat. The fire consumed the attic of the church, causing roof compromise and great concerned for the safety of all the firefighters. The Incident Commander ordered all members to transition into a defensive exterior fire fight, but was soon called right back in to an offensive attack.

Two single family dwellings caught fire and posed more of a workload for all personnel at the scene. Due to the quick and decisive work, both adjacent structures received very little fire damage. A nearby blue line track had to be shut down during the entire fire operation to ensure the safety of all those at the scene.

It took approximately 80 firefighters just 41 minutes to achieve a knock down without injury. No civilians were reported to have been in either one of the buildings at the time of the incident. There were no injuries to any of the firefighters. Two adults and three children were displaced, as The American Red Cross was called in for assistance.

The cause of this fire will be under an active investigation by Los Angeles Fire Department Arson Investigators, as well as the multi-agency House of Worship Task Force.

An investigation was conducted by the House of Worship Arson Taskforce, which includes (LAFD, LAPD, ATF, and FBI). Subsequently a Ricardo Aguilar Martinez was arrested the next day and charged with two counts of arson. Mr. Martinez accepted a plea agreement and was convicted on one count of arson 451 (b) PC and was sentence to three years in State Prison.  Upon his release from prison, Martinez must register as a convicted arsonist.

Submitted by Devin Gales & Erik Scott, Spokesmen
Los Angeles Fire Department


RL said...

For a PR/Communications communique, the writing is seriously lacking.
Its all about image and professionalism.

Montreal, Canada

Retro Housewife said...

What is the status of the investigation into the burning of the church? Have they apprehended the perpetrator?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


Your comments are well taken. With long hours and a limited team, we warmly welcome your feedback.

I will forward your comments to the author Devin Gales, and encourage you to offer any specifics you may encounter in this or future reply threads.

Again, thanks for your feedback!

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Retro Housewife,

No updates (yet) to our office from the staff at LAFD's Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section, who are routinely in charge of all such investigations.

I will add this to my list of fires to ask them about, and hope that they can/will get back to me soon.

Thanks for your continued interest in the endeavors of your Los Angeles Fire Department.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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