A new stake center for the St. George East Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was heavily damaged by fire early Saturday according to the Deseret News.
The stake center was being rebuilt and was about a month away from completion. It appears that the fire began at about 1 a.m. on Saturday morning. The sprinkler system for the building had been installed but was not yet functioning.
Local church members had built the original building in the 1960s, and it was demolished to make way for the new building. Reconstruction of the new building began in February 2018. The stake center was located across the street from the St. George Utah Temple.
It appears that the fire was ignited using some sort of fuel on the exterior of the building. The steeple and much of the roof collapsed during the fire. Officials with the local police, fire, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping with the ongoing investigation.
The fire displaced three wards (congregations). The St. George Temple will close in the fall for two years of renovations, so members of these congregations will feel displaced in more ways than one.
St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker is asking anyone with information about the origin of the fire to call St. George police at the nonemergency number, 435-627-4300.