UTAH

Church fire became a four-alarm structure fire

May 26, 2024, 8:55 AM | Updated: 4:14 pm

A church fire became a four-alarm fire on Sunday morning....

A church fire became a four-alarm fire on Sunday morning. (Salt Lake City Fire Department)

(Salt Lake City Fire Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — A massive church fire became a four-alarm structure fire early Sunday morning, bringing in around 80 to 85 units of firefighters.

Salt Lake City Fire Department said they received a call about a structure fire at Wells Ward Chapel at 5:30 a.m. located at 500 E. Hollywood Ave.

“First arriving units encountered very heavy smoke and flames from the building,” Capt. Brandt Hancuff said. “It was fully engulfed upon their arrival.”

Firefighters said they could hear screaming upon arrival and were able to rescue two young adults from a balcony. SLCFD said the two young adults were treated for smoke inhalation.

Hancuff said firefighters quickly had four trucks set up with master streams meant to put the fire out.

Firefighters said the church building partially collapsed and that the fire never spread to other structures in the area. No firefighters were reported to be injured while fighting the fire.

Firefighters have 500 E. closed from 2100 S to 1700 S. The SLCFD is asking people to avoid the area.

Hancuff said firefighters are still putting hot spots out at the church and units have scaled back.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and could take weeks to investigate due to structural issues in the church, according to SLCFD.

Hancuff said the church was scheduled for demolition within weeks from now. He said the area was fenced off, but police have had issues with trespassers at the church. 

Plans for an emergency demolition have been fast forwarded to Sunday, when the structure will be completely demolished due to instability.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Irene Caso with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said the church is aware of the fire. 

According to Caso, the building was scheduled to be demolished due to stability and safety concerns. Those concerns are related to the earthquake that occurred in March of 2020.

Caso said the church building has not been occupied by a congregation since 2020.

Church officials have stated that they do not know of any artifacts or significant pieces being lost in the fire.

This is a developing story and may be updated.

KSL NewsRadio’s Jessica Lowell contributed to this story.

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Church fire became a four-alarm structure fire