Police: LDS stake center fire in St. George not confirmed to be arson, incident still under criminal investigation

brand new LDS Church that was not open yet fully engulfed in flames

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Police in St. George said Tuesday that investigators are still conducting a criminal investigation into what caused a fire that broke out at a new LDS stake center Saturday, but investigators have not officially ruled the cause of the fire as arson.

A press release made by the St. George Police Department said that evidence collected from the fire on Saturday was sent to be tested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to determine if an accelerant was used to start the blaze. Police said the results of those tests could take up to two weeks to receive.

The incident is still under investigation and has not been confirmed to be arson, the press release stated. However, police said they are conducting a criminal investigation into the fire, “to ensure all leads are covered.”

Police clarified that arson is an act of deliberately setting a fire, while a criminal investigation can include conducting interviews, interrogations and other means of investigation to look into the incident.

Police Tuesday released footage of a car that was seen the night of the fire:

“This vehicle was in the area of the LDS Stake Center fire around the time it was reported,” police wrote. “The occupants of this vehicle ARE NOT suspects. We merely want to speak to them about what they may have saw the night of 1/26/19.”

The press release stated that officials with the St. George Fire Department, ATFE, Utah State Fire Marshal and the St. George Police Department were all working together to conduct the criminal investigation.

Police asked anyone who was in the area of the fire on Saturday and saw something suspicious to contact investigators at 435-627-4338.

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