Fire destroys Latter-day Saint meetinghouse near St. George Utah Temple

An early morning fire Saturday destroyed a stake center under construction across the street from the historic St. George Utah Temple.

Firefighting crews from St. George and several surrounding communities arrived shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, to battle the blaze as residents watched. The new St. George East Stake Center, located at 453 S. 300 East, George Utah Temple, was to open later this year.

Facebook posts credited to the St. George East Stake presidency shared photos, a video and response regarding the blaze.

“We were deeply saddened to have received a call at 2:30 a.m. informing us that our new St. George East Stake Center was on fire,” states the posted comment. “The building that we were so anticipating moving into over the next few months is gone. Those that were up watching it burn were stunned and in complete shock. Our faith is only strengthened as we work through this bump in the road.”

Video of the new stake center burning. Shortly after this video did the tilting steeple come down. It was truly a sad moment to see it, engulfed in flames and smoke and then fall and disappear into the burning rubble.

Posted by St. George East Stake Presidency on Saturday, January 26, 2019

The fire was reported first seen on the building’s east-side attic, working its way westward. A large portion of the roof collapsed from the fire and water damage.

A cause of Saturday morning’s fire is yet to be determined, as firefighters worked through Saturday morning to completely extinguish hot spots.

The stake’s previously building was torn down in February 2018 to make room for the construction of its replacement. One of 18 stakes in the two St. George / Virgin River Coordinating Councils, the St. George East Stake is comprised of eight wards and three branches.

A day earlier, a Nov. 4 date was announced for closure of the St. George Utah Temple for renovations.