Investigators say July fire at Orem Utah Temple was arson, ATF offers cash reward for information
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had requested the ATF’s help in investigating the fire’s cause.
A cash reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for what investigators now say is a case of arson at the under-construction Orem Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering up to $5,000 for information about the fire set inside the temple on July 25, according to an ATF news release.
Neighbors and motorists on I-15 and Geneva Road began calling 911 at about 11:10 p.m. with reports of smoke coming from the top floor of the temple, KSL reported.
“Foam was used to extinguish the fire as much as possible, which limited water damage to the construction site,” church spokesman Doug Andersen said at the time, noting that the fire broke out on the temple’s third floor. “The church is grateful to the Orem Fire Department for their quick response.”
Orem Fire Battalion Chief Shaun Hirst said in July that crews found “very light smoke” and “minimal” fire activity in a utility room on the third floor. The fire was quickly extinguished.
Orem Fire received assistance from the State Fire Marshal, the Utah County Fire Department and Orem police.
Church officials also requested ATF assistance.
The church declined to say how much damage was done to the temple. A church spokesman did issue a statement about trending attacks on worship sites.
“In recent years there has been an unfortunate worldwide increase of violence, vandalism and desecration of religious sites and buildings, including shootings, arson, graffiti, damage to facilities and more,” church spokesman Doug Andersen said. “This has also affected chapels and temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such sites are places of gathering and sacred worship, and should be places of peace and safety. We are grateful for the efforts of local and federal law enforcement officials to investigate such instances and prosecute those who engage in those actions.”
Construction began on the temple at 1471 S. Geneva Road after a ceremonial groundbreaking on Sept. 5, 2020. The temple is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.
Tipsters should contact the ATF at (888) ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) or the Orem Police Department at (801) 229-7070. Information can also be sent to ATFTips@atf.gov or through ATF’s website at www.atf.gov/contact/atftips. Tips can be submitted anonymously using the Reportit® app, available from both Google Play and the Apple App store, or by visiting www.reportit.com.