Second church fire in six months deemed ‘suspicious’


On Friday, February 20, at 5:13am, Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) units responded to 5722 Lime Ave (Calvary Chapel of North Long Beach) after the report of a structure fire at the location.
Engine Company Eleven, first on scene, arrived in approximately three minutes and gave the initial report of “a two-story church fully involved (with fire), pulling a hose line, and requested assistance from incoming units with a water supply and firefighting operations.”
Truck companies conducted ventilation operations to check for extension of the fire and to clear the interior of smoke for firefighting crews to conduct search-and-rescue operations. Based on the size of the building and the amount of fire showing, a “second alarm” (request for additional resources) was called for by the district battalion chief, who assumed Incident Commander duties.
The fire was contained to the entry area off of South Street and to a large meeting/activity room behind this location. The facility was clear of occupants at the time of the fire, and there were no reports of injuries to civilians or firefighters. LBFD crews overhauled the structure, looking for any “hot spots,” to ensure that the fire was extinguished and conducted salvage operations.
Clear plastic sheeting was placed over the ventilation hole on the roof to prevent environmental exposure, the entry on South Street was cleaned up and made free of any dangers to the public, and “board up” was offered to secure the church (the pastor chose to assume this responsibility).
The extent of the damage to the structure and its contents is estimated to be between $75,000 and $100,000.
In addition to this fire, the church suffered from another fire at one of its other facilities, approximately one block away, within the last six months, which, after investigation, was listed as an “undetermined cause.” The cause of the recent fire has been preliminarily listed as “suspicious in nature,” and, because it is a church, a joint investigation is ongoing, conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, LBFD Arson Division and the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD).
Anyone with information on this fire is asked to call the Arson Tip Line at: (562) 570-2582. (Tips may be anonymous.)

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