HACIENDA HEIGHTS – A massive arson fire caused an estimated $8 million worth of damage to a Catholic church early Saturday, authorities said.
A priest suffered minor smoke inhalation and one firefighter suffered a minor injury in the blaze, which was reported just after midnight at St. John Vianney Church, 1345 Turnbull Canyon Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters said. Firefighters arrived to find the building “fully involved” with flames.
“The extensive structure fire at St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights has been confirmed as an act of arson,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said late Saturday in a written statement.
“We are actively investigating to identify the suspect responsible. At this time we are not able to share any leads that we are working on.”
One firefighter suffered a cut to his hand during the battle with the fire, which went on for about 2 1/2 hours, officials said. He was treated at a local hospital and released.
One of three priests living at the site was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation, officials said.
Church officials and representatives of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Turnbull Canyon Road was closed in both directions Saturday morning as officials investigated the scene.
Authorities are asking anyone with information to call the sheriff’s Industry Station.
PHOTO by Eric Reed, Staff