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Juveniles confess to setting fire at Mormon chapel in Magna

Published: Tuesday, May 14 2013 6:35 a.m. MDT

Scene of a fire at an LDS church in Magna, Monday, May 13, 2013.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

MAGNA — Three juveniles confessed Monday to setting hymnals on fire late Sunday, resulting in a Monday morning blaze at an LDS Church.

A passer-by early Monday noticed white smoke coming from the eaves of the building, 7525 W. 3635 South, and called 911, said Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Meacham. When firefighters arrived around 7:15 a.m., the entire building was filled with smoke, he said.

Investigators pieced together evidence left at the scene, including a door to the building that appeared to have been broken or forced open. It is unknown how the three kids were located, but Meacham said they confessed to starting the blaze.

"The material smoldered for quite a long time before it got hot enough to actually set the surrounding furnishing and contents on fire," he said.

Because of the types and quality of furnishings contained within the chapel and the amount of Sheetrock material that had to be torn down during the extinguishing and investigation process, Meacham said damage quickly reached $500,000.

The juveniles are facing possible charges for arson and other crimes, as they were not supposed to be in the building when they set the fire. Their ages were not released Monday.

Meacham said it is unknown what materials were used to set the hymn books on fire.

No one was injured in the fire, and damage was contained mostly to the chapel. Smoke damage, however, was reported throughout the building, and some windows were blown out due to a change in pressure inside the building.

Meacham said the size and nature of the building made for a more lengthy investigation and more information is likely to come out as the potential charges are vetted.

Email: wleonard@deseretnews.com

Twitter: wleonards

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