Fire destroys newly rebuilt meetinghouse

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Fire destroyed a newly rebuilt LDS meetinghouse in West Valley City May 13, the second fire at the building in less than a year.

Initial investigations by fire department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents suggested that the fire might have been caused by an electrical conduit that shorted out. As of press time, investigations were continuing.

Bob Fitzgerald, captain of the West Valley Fire Department, estimated the damage at $2 million.

The fire, reported by neighbors about 7:45 p.m., destroyed most of the building and brought down the roof. Between 40 and 50 firefighters responded from West Valley City, South Salt Lake and Salt Lake County and used water and foam to douse the flames, Capt. Fitzgerald said. Flames shot 20 to 30 feet into the air.

A fire June 10, 2001, at the meetinghouse, near 3500 South and 6400 West, was determined to be arson; no one has been charged in that fire. The building had not been in use since then.

Rededication of the meetinghouse was to have been held after completion of renovation work, which was scheduled to have been finished in about a month.