LDS Church House Catches Fire
Feb. 28, 2004
Kimberly Houk Reporting
The weather made it hard for firefighters to put out a three alarm blaze at an LDS church house tonight.
The fire started in the attic of the Ensign First Ward at 6th E. 18th Ave., just before 5:00 this afternoon. There is a lot of damage to the church; the roof collapsed after 55 firefighters fought for more than an hour to put out the flames.
Blake Rigby, Bishop: “We hate to see the chapel damaged or destroyed in any way, but the important thing is nobody was inside, nobody was hurt. We can replace buildings, so we're in great shape."
A couple of people working on getting the snow off the sidewalks outside noticed something was wrong.
Rigby: “Individuals doing some snow-blowing on the sidewalk noticed the smoke, ran in and warned the kids, and got them out."
Several boys were inside the church playing basketball when the smoke started billowing out of the roof.
Roger Young, Church Member: “I was shocked, and I thought if they didn't know what it was, I'd come tell them that I was just here a couple of hours ago. We smelled something funny, but it smelled more like bad sweat in the gym."
Investigators don't know what caused the fire, but the heavy snow made fighting it difficult.
Dennis McKune, Salt Lake City Fire Dept.: “It makes it harder for our crews to work on the roof. As you can see, with this heavy snow and up hill all the time, our crews are in very good shape. But it wears them down in a hurry.”
Firefighters spent more than an hour climbing up and down the ladders trying to put the fire out in the attic. But it wasn't enough and the roof collapsed making it impossible for church to be held there tomorrow.
Rigby: “We'll just see how the storm is. If the storm is really bad through the night, we may cancel services for tomorrow. We'll just play it by ear at this point."
Right now the church plans to hold services at another chapel located on 9th Avenue and K Street. But they may cancel services altogether, depending on the storm. The bishop says he’ll be calling members to let them know.
And the news video:
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02-29-2004, 11:51 AM #1
UTah-Church burns in Salt Lake City
Last edited by UTFFEMT; 02-29-2004 at 12:00 PM.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
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