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Arson suspects sought in Pasadena church fire

Arson suspects sought in Pasadena church fire
Community volunteers help clean damage caused by an arson fire started inside the Church of the Angels in Pasadena early Saturday. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Authorities are searching for those responsible for vandalizing a 129-year-old Pasadena church early Saturday and setting it on fire.

The fire was reported at about 2:20 a.m. at the Church of the Angels at 1100 N. Avenue 64, said Lisa Derderian, a spokeswoman with the Pasadena Fire Department. The Los Angeles Fire Department initially responded and put out the fire because of confusion over the address, she said.

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The vandals broke a stone statue in front of the church and sprayed graffiti on its exterior walls, Derderian said. The church sustained smoke damage, including to some pews, and a solid oak statue that was part of the church when it was built was badly damaged, she said.

The fire was started inside the building, she said.

Authorities are not treating the incident as a hate crime, Derderian said, "but there was a break-in, a burglary and vandalism."

No arrests have been made and it appears that more than one individual was involved, she said.

The Episcopal church has been used for the filming of movies over the years and there was a shoot scheduled for Saturday morning that had to be canceled, Derderian said. It was unclear whether the church would be open for services on Sunday.

"It's very sad," she said, "because this was a historical landmark that can't be replaced or replicated."

UPDATES:

4:50 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from fire officials.

This article was originally posted at 2:05 p.m.

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