By Kent Larsen
Arson Suspected in West Valley City Chapel Fire
WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH -- Police suspect arson in an early morning
fire that destroyed 20-25% of an LDS chapel in West Valley City, Utah
and left the rest of the building heavily damaged from the smoke.
Police suspect arson because of where and when the fire started. The
building, which serves two wards, will take two months to repair,
fire officials estimate.
Damage to the building is estimated at $300,000, according to fire
department officials. They say that the fire started in or just
outside a clerk's office in the building, an area that isn't normally
a source of electrical fires. The building closed Monday at 5:30 pm,
long before the fire started, and investigators found an open window
and a broken window that could have been used to enter the building.
The building is the meetinghouse for 850 to 900 members of the Hunter
9th and 16th wards of the Salt Lake Hunter West Stake. Those wards
will have to meet elsewhere while the building is being repaired.
Local leaders say that no important records were lost in the fire and
say they haven't received any threats against the building. Clay
Hatch, second counselor in the stake presidency, told the Deseret
News, "It's just sad we have to deal with this kind of stuff. I don't
feel any anger. It's just unfortunate. It appears desperate people do
desperate things. It's very sad." But, he added, "This is just a blip
on the screen," he said. "We will move on."
LDS church torched in W.V.
Deseret News 12Jun01 D1
By Pat Reavy: Deseret News staff writer
Damage is at least $300,000; officials suspect arson