Authorities Say Whittier Church Fire Was Arson

A fire that smoldered in a Whittier church for about five hours, causing $100,000 in damage, was deliberately set, authorities said Monday.

It took 10 engine companies about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze at the Whittier Hills Baptist Church, 16153 E. Russell St., but it had been smoldering four to six hours before firefighters arrived, Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Bill Robb said.

No injuries were reported.

Robb said the blaze appeared to have been deliberately set in two locations in the upper seating balcony.

He said signs of vandalism and forcible entry pointed to at least one arsonist, adding that another fire in the church kitchen two years ago was also believed to have been started by an arsonist.

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