Article Published: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 10:43:09 PM PST
Fires damage houses of worship
Two fires occurred Monday and one on April 26, said Br
ENCINO -- Federal officials have been notified about a series of suspicious fires, including two this week, at three houses of worship in the Encino area, officials said Tuesday.
Two fires occurred Monday and one on April 26, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Fire Department.
"We take this very, very seriously," Humphrey said. "These fires can cost more than property damage. They can cost lives, and break the spirit and vitality of a faith community.
He said the Los Angeles Fire Department is the main investigative agency on the case, but federal and state investigators have been notified.
"They have been apprised of the situation and are monitoring it."
The fires did not do enough damage to force worshippers to abandon the sites, Humphrey said.
One fire was reported at the Bahai Community Center at 11:16 a.m. Monday and caused $10,000 to $12,000 in damage, Humphrey said.
Nearly 12 hours later, a fire burned the roof of an Iranian synagogue. No damage estimates were available.
Last month's fire struck the First Presbyterian Church and caused about $20,000 in damage to the nearly 8,000-square-foot facility.
"We have not linked these fires, but the fact that they are in a mile radius and all houses of worship is not lost upon us," Humphrey said.
Associated Press contributed to this story.
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