Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fire At Los Angeles LDS Temple Complex Destroys Mission President's Residence; Temple Itself Undamaged, Arson Not Immediately Suspected

A fire on the grounds of the Los Angeles Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints early on January 10th, 2012 destroyed a mission president's residence leaving only a charred skeleton standing, but inflicted only minor damage upon the temple president's residence which is still under construction, and did not affect the temple building itself. An excellent photo of the damaged structure is available via the Los Angeles Times, while the Westwood-Century City Patch provides the most comprehensive story.

The blaze was first reported around 1:01 A.M. on January 10th. A total of 48 firefighters ultimately responded, and the fire was effectively doused by 1:27 A.M. The 4,000-square-foot building, which was intended to house the Los Angeles LDS mission president and serve as an administrative welcome center for visitors, was in the wood framing stage. No damage estimate is yet available.

Two short videos provide additional perspective. The first one shows the fire in reference to the location of the temple itself, and indicates that the temple was never threatened:

The second video focuses exclusively on the burning building. Flames were estimated to have been 30 feet high:

The temeple's director of public affairs, Matthew Ball, says arson is not suspected because the temple had not received any threats, and on-site security guards detected no intruders. The temple property is patrolled around the clock. Nevertheless, a Los Angeles Fire Department House of Worship Task Force, part of the department's counter-terrorism unit, was dispatched to the scene for an arson investigation, because that is their standard response for any fire at any religious site. No connection with the recent spate of car fires is suspected since a suspect has been arrested and the outbreak of fires ceased thereafter.

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