SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — Authorities believe the fire that destroyed an iconic Elks Lodge in San Pedro was the work of an arsonist.
Standing in front of what remains of the charred building in the 1700 block of West Cumbre Drive on Wednesday, L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino confirmed the fire was indeed set on purpose.
“I say to the coward who set this fire: our message to you is that you will be hunted down and arrested. We don’t put up with this type of behavior in our San Pedro community,” Buscaino said.
It took firefighters nearly two hours to knock down the blaze, reported just before 3 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The two-story, 33,744-square-foot structure became engulfed in flames reaching as high as 100 feet in the air, causing the situation to become so dangerous that firefighters had to evacuate for fear of a roof collapse.
LAFD Interim Fire Chief Jim Featherstone said no one was injured, although he noted they were “very fortunate” that was the case.
The lodge, built in 1967, was home to parties, weddings and family events.
Firefighters said Tuesday they were able to save the building’s auditorium, which contained some historic possessions.
Buscaino promised, however, to rebuild.
“The Elks Lodge of San Pedro will be bigger and stronger,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing.