SWAN VALLEY — A massive fire that destroyed a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meetinghouse Tuesday does not appear to be suspicious, according to Swan Valley Fire Chief Dean Philbrick.
Philbrick and other investigators returned to the church Wednesday morning and are working to determine exactly how the fire started.
Church members described the building as a “landmark” and said they were very upset about the loss.
“We came last night and watched it at the last part, so this morning we had to come and see what was left,” one church member told EastIdahoNews.com “We were sad and depressed with tears in out eyes all day.”
Fire officials say electricians had been working in meetinghouse days before the fire, according to Philbrick, and that may have contributed to the blaze.
Crews were called to the chapel at 3109 Swan Valley Hwy. around 2 p.m. Tuesday. A person driving by the church noticed smoke coming from the attic and called 911.
Investigators believe the fire likely started in the attic. A propane tank outside the church had been filled earlier in the day, contributing to the massive inferno.
The Swan Valley Fire Department arrived on the scene and immediately called for backup from several other east Idaho agencies.
Nobody was injured in the fire and a piano tuner, who was inside the building when it started, was able to leave the church without being harmed.
The church was constructed in 1949 and is home to the Palisades Ward.
Two officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on their way to the scene. A state fire marshal is conducting an investigation and Bonneville County Sheriff deputies are assisting.
Stay with EastIdahoNews.com for updates on the fire throughout the day.