One of the biggest concerns of readers outside Utah is if the walnut tree pulpit
was damaged. The DN says the water fell from above the pulpit, yet the pulpit
is never mentioned as having been damaged or not, nor confirmed if it was even
Glad to hear nobody was hurt and there wasn't a lot of damage to the
conference center. I also hoped the pulpit wasn't damaged, its a great
reminder of an even greater man.
The mechanical room where the fire occured is described as "almost directly
over the pulpit". We also learn that the damage is said to have been
"limited to a 50-foot area in front of the pulpit". How big of an area
is the "pulpit" itself? Does this include the whole area where general
authorities, their wives and the general auxiliary officers sit, as well as
where the chior sits? That is a pretty big area. The 50-feet measure seems to
be one direction. This is 50-feet by some other not specififeid distiaance. If
it was 50 feet by 50 feet the total area affected would be 2500 feet. Of course
this would assume no damage to the "pulpit".
Actually it makes a lot of sense to be self-insured if you are a large
organization like the Church. The point of insurance is to pool risk. It is
cheaper to just cover jointly all your risk if you are large enough to spread it
out.Another reason the damage costs may be so great is that the
floor of the area may have been wrecked. The repairs may require pulling up the
floor and putting in a new floor. There may be sub-floor repairs needed as
That seems like a lot of damage. I guess it is good that this was just after
general conference, so there is not as pressing a need for repairs as if it had
been in mid-September.
I was amused to see the address in the article listed as 60 N. West Temple. Come
on Deseret News!! The Conference Center is not evan on that block. That address
is on the West side of Temple Square. Would it be unreasonable for readers to
assume that someone at the newspaper might pay attention to this?
Northbournd Zax,I think this is kind of like body damage to your
car.The damage to the car may be small, but getting it to look right
and not "patched" is often where the cost is.
To Kathybeebee,The fire may have been started by electrical
batteries, but that doesn't mean it was an electrical fire, they probably
set fire to combustibles in the room.The cost of the damage does
sound extreme, like getting a little ding in my car bumper and an estimate of a
couple of thousand to fix it.It may have only damaged some much area
on the floor -- they set up the fans around the area to dry, not just right on
top of what got wet. But in addition to the floor, there was also the ceiling
where the water came through and the mechanical room, from both fire and water
damage that needs to be repaired. The church isn't going to just coat the
area with Kilz and give it a band-aid type cover up. It will be as good as new.
At least this didn't happen during a general conference session. Imagine
how that would have gone down...
A Scientist is correct. The church is self-insured (as in, operates their own
legitimate insurance company), which allows them to save money worldwide on
insurance premiums. Not unlike (on a much smaller personal scale) having an
emergency savings fund for car repairs.How great is it to have those
in charge of the finances of the church making wise financial decisions which
allows the church to stay out of debt, provide for the needs of the members, and
deal with problems like this fire?
Mick,Yes, the Church is led by very smart business executives
andHarvard MBAs.The Church is self-insured.
Scientist-The church is also smart and will let the insurance cover
this. Therefore the church can use all of its money for other important
I'm guessing the high damage cost must be to buy new backup batteries- they
can't be cheap for a building so large. The chairs and carpet can probably
be dried and reused, but they wouldn't cost 500k even if they were
purchased new. I'm wondering whether the battery manufacturers had any kind
of warranty or liability; the fire never should have happened
The pulpit is taken out unless it is being used. They will tell you this if you
take a tour of the building. I have taken many at different times of the year
and the pulpit is always put away unless it is out for a meeting.
$500K for a 50ft area? Wow!
We are glad no on was hurt. There are still left unanswered questions about how
so much water was involved. If the two sprinkler heads were of a type used in
most applications, it would have taken about six hours to discharge the
"tens of thousands of gallons of water" mentioned several times by SLCFD
personnel. So, either the heads flowed undetected for five or so hours. (This is
unlikely because all such systems are required to be monitored. Or there was a
major line break, or the sprinkler heads were of an unusual, high deluge type.
The trib says the pulpit was undamaged, but no media has confirmed if the pulpit
was anywhere near the falling water and if it even got wet. The DN says the
water came from directly above the pulpit, but did not confirm if the pulpit was
still in place since conference. The pulpit may have been moved to storage in
advance of other events.
You can use water to extinguish an electrical fire??? I thought that was a
Damage in about 50 square feet in front of the pulpit? Yet the fans are spread
out over more than a thousand square feet-I'm confused.
I just hope the pulpit used for General Conference is OK. I loved President
Hinkley's story about that. Everything else is hopefully replaceable.