A fire in Glassell Park tore through a Mormon church Tuesday afternoon, gutting much of the church and causing the roof to collapse, authorities said.
The blaze began shortly after 2:30 p.m. as a small brush fire near the 2 Freeway and Verdugo Road, said Margaret Stewart, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman. Flames swiftly raced uphill, igniting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
About 185 firefighters battled the blaze, which sent embers flying into the 3900 block of Roderick Road and set one palm tree ablaze, Stewart said.
TV footage showed flames spreading into the eaves and later, the attic of the church, sending plumes of thick black smoke upward.
Firefighters and church staff scrambled to salvage important documents and other valuables kept in the burning building, Stewart said.
One firefighter was airlifted from the scene and his condition was unknown. Another firefighter suffered a minor injury and was taken to a hospital in good condition, Stewart said.
The fire was extinguished shortly before 5 p.m. The cause is under investigation.