Bahai News -- CNN - Police investigate four church fires

Police investigate four church fires

Wednesday, May 7, 2003 Posted: 1:59 PM EDT (1759 GMT)

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Investigators are trying to discover what caused four fires over 11 days at places of worship in the San Fernando Valley community of Encino.

A House of Worship Task Force, which includes representatives from federal agencies, is investigating each blaze, Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells said Wednesday.

Thus far, investigators have not connected the four incidents.

"Right now, the fires are being investigated independent of each other, even though they are all in the same types of buildings," Wells said.

The most recent fire came at Valley Beth Shalom on Ventura Boulevard early Wednesday morning. There were no injuries and the fire was extinguished by the facility's sprinkler system, Wells said.

There also was no one hurt in the other fires, two of which occurred Monday and one on April 26. All the blazes were labeled suspicious, but details were withheld because of the ongoing investigation.

A fire was reported at the Bahai Community Center on Monday and caused at least $10,000 damage. Nearly 12 hours later, a fire burned the roof of an Iranian synagogue. No damage estimate was available.

The fire last month struck the First Presbyterian Church and caused about $20,000 in damages.

©Copyright 2003, CNN (Atlanta, GA, USA)

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