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Man faces arson charge in Utah church fire

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Updated - Jul. 1, 2019 at 5:42 p.m. | Posted - Jul. 1, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

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OGDEN — A Taylorsville man was charged with arson Monday in connection with a church fire in Ogden that caused an estimated $300,000 damage.

Michael Donovan Averett, 18, was charged in 2nd District Court with the second-degree felony, as well as burglary and criminal mischief, both third-degree felonies.

On Friday, police were called to a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 550 E. 900 North in Ogden, on a criminal mischief call. Two maintenance workers had arrived at the church that morning to find broken water pipes, a shattered glass door, and could still hear someone breaking items inside the building, according to charging documents.

Officers arrived and found Averett and a juvenile nearby, the charges state.

"Both males admitted to being inside the church, explaining that they were exploring," the charges state.

The officer took down Averett's name and contact information and let him leave, according to charging documents. After, police did a thorough walk-through of the church and found a toy box was on fire, according to charging documents. Ogden firefighters and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated.

Damage to the church was originally said to be $40,000, according to the fire department. That was later increased to $300,000, the charges state.

Investigators later tracked down Averett and the juvenile in Sandy.

"Michael admitted to breaking multiple fixtures and windows in the church. Additionally, Michael admitted to using flammable sources to ignite multiple fires within the church in multiple areas," the charges state.

It was unknown Monday whether charges have been filed against the juvenile.


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