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Church Damaged by Fire; 2 Men Sought

A $350,000 fire Monday that engulfed the second story of a former church in Hollywood was deliberately set, and two men seen fleeing the burning building were being sought, authorities said.

About 3,600 square feet of the ornate structure at 1717 N. Gramercy Place, which is now used as a student tutoring office, were fully ablaze when firefighters arrived, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Vince Marzo said.

“Witnesses heard an explosion, and when they looked at the church they saw two men running from the building and then they saw flames shoot from the second floor,” Marzo said of the 6:30 a.m. blaze.

“The cause was incendiary, and the residue of flammable liquids was found on the second floor,” he said.

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About 40 firefighters controlled the blaze in about 30 minutes.

The men being sought for questioning are both believed to be black and 18 to 20 years old.

Both the Hollywood Beverly Christian Church and the Hollywood Korean Church were former occupants of the building.


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