LAYTON — Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discovered and extinguished a fire Monday afternoon in a church, according to authorities.
The group of missionaries was playing football at about 3 p.m. across the street from the Latter-day Saint church building, 1715 W. 1600 North, when a few of them had to use the restroom, according to Layton Fire Battalion Chief Jason Cook.
The missionaries had permission to use the church, and when they entered they saw smoke, Cook said.
They soon discovered it was originating from the gym, where they saw two curtains on the stage in flames. They used a fire extinguisher from the building to put the small fire out, Cook said.
After the fire was extinguished, the missionaries went outside. That’s when some of them saw a vehicle fleeing from the parking lot, according to Cook.
A few from the group tried to chase after the vehicle to get a license plate number or a description but were unable to. Cook said authorities are investigating the incident and believe the blaze was intentionally set by someone.
Once authorities arrived on the scene, they found a bulletin board in the church that had all its papers knocked off, Cook said.
As for how the fire was started, Cook said investigators are looking into that. He noted that papers were found near the curtains, so the working theory is whoever started the fire lit the papers on fire then used them to light the curtains.
The church doesn’t have security footage of the incident, Cook said. However, the school across the street might have surveillance cameras that captured the incident, Cook said.
Cook said he doesn’t think the intention behind the fire was anything other than rebellion and, unfortunately, there have been similar cases in the last few years.
"It is one of those things that pops up every little while,” Cook said.
Contributing: Mehul Asher, KSL