Task force investigating LA church fire

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A national task force that investigates arson at worship facilities is investigating a fire that has gutted a South Los Angeles church.

City Fire Department officials say the blaze early Friday at the Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church appears suspicious.

The fire occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Eighty firefighters were able to knock it down in about 50 minutes.

A task force including the FBI, Los Angeles police and fire, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the blaze. The unit was created in 1996 in response to a rash of arsons at African-American churches.

A dog trained to sniff for accelerants is helping in the probe.

The church opened in 1952.

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