Firefighters: Mormon Church Fire Is Arson

By: Lori Jane Gliha
By: Lori Jane Gliha

Firefighters say they found evidence of a break-in and ignitable fluids at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A broken door at the side of the church building also led them to determine arson as the cause of the fire.

Canine dogs from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms helped sniff out chemicals called accelerants. Firefighters sent samples of the chemicals to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab to determine what they are.

East Lansing Fire Marshal, Bob Pratt, said several chemicals, including kerosene and gasoline, could have served as accelerants in the fire, which greatly increased the size and temperature of the flames.

Investigators are still searching for suspects. They say the most common motives for arson include spite, jealousy, cover-up of another crime, revenge, malicious intent and destruction, and investigators are not ruling out any of these.

The fire department has set up a tip line for anyone with any information about the crime. Contact 1-877-ELPD-TIP or 1-877-357-3847 if you have information.


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