Officials: Mormon church fire was purposefully set

Officials: Mormon church fire was purposefully set »Play Video
MUKILTEO, Wash. - A two-alarm fire that destroyed a large church in Mukilteo early Saturday was purposefully set, fire officials said.

"They have ruled the fire an arson," said Mukilteo Assistant Fire Chief Brian McMahan.

Fire crews were called to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Harbour Pointe Boulevard around 3 a.m.

When they arrived, flames already were spewing through the windows in the center of the church. Soon after, the fire tore through the tile roof and started spreading to the rest of the building.

Five minutes later, the call for a second alarm was sent out.

No one was injured in the intense blaze, but the structure was a complete loss, McMahan said. Flames consumed the entire church, and eventually much of the building collapsed.

Investigators began scouring the scene as soon as possible after the flames were beaten back and found evidence of arson.

"The investigators said the fire started in the rear of the building, approximately the center, and the fire started on the exterior of the building," McMahan said.

He didn't say whether investigators have any leads on who may have started the fire.

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Mukilteo Fire Department took part in the investigation.

The building is considered a total loss.

Two LDS wards, Harbour Pointe and Beverly Park, called the building home. Church members say about 800 people go to the church, which also housed gymnasiums and classrooms.

McMahan said that the fire was hastened by the fact that there were no sprinklers in the building, as it was built before city codes required them.

McMahan said anyone with information should call 1-800-55-ARSON.

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More information and photos of the fire are here »