Pit bull mix with broken leg rescued from church fire

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Large blaze burns through Vermont Knolls church
Los Angeles firefighters were working on a greater-alarm fire early Monday morning that tore through a two-story Vermont Knolls church.

LOS ANGELES -- A pit bull mix was rescued from a fire that tore through an abandoned church building in the Vermont Knolls neighborhood of South Los Angeles, officials said.

The blaze broke out around 5:15 a.m. Monday in the 8300 block of South Hoover Street at the abandoned Greater Bethany EDC, causing the roof to collapse on both the first and second floors of the structure.

Firefighters gained control of the flames less than two hours later. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters said the building appeared to have been occupied by homeless people who left before firefighters arrived. Arson investigators are looking into the cause of the fire.

But firefighters did rescue a dog from the building. The pit bull mix seemed to have a broken leg and was badly distressed.

"He was doing real bad," said witness Fernando Frias. "He just looked at me like 'Help me.' I didn't know what to do. I just picked him up and brought him home."

Firefighters and police officers who run Ghetto Rescue, a nonprofit that helps animals and families in Los Angeles, were on scene and offered assistance with the dog.

Ghetto Rescue is footing the dog's medical bills and hopes to locate his owner.

"He looks well taken care of, well fed - possibly has an owner," said Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Tammy Baumann. "So we're hoping that person comes forward."

Until then, Frias will take care of him.

"I do kind of like him now. I feel bad for him. But he has a home in my house. He's welcome to stay."