Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Arson Suspected In Fire At LDS Temple In Oakdale, Minnesota; $25,000 Damage, No Interruption Of Temple Operations Anticipated

A fire which began around 2:51 A.M on September 10th, 2008 at the temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the 2100 block of Hadley Avenue in Oakdale, Minnesota is suspected to have been caused by arson, although no cause has been officially established yet, according to local police. Locally reported by the Deseret News, but the most detailed report was published by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and KAAL Channel 6 in Austin-Rochester, MN.

Damage was extremely limited. By the time police arrived, the fire had "self-extinguished." Damage was limited to the front exterior landing's glass and carpet, although other media reports state that the adjoining front room sustained minor smoke damage. A preliminary estimate puts the damage at $25,000 the temple, which was built in 1999. Normal temple operations are not expected to be interrupted. [Ed. Note: Although the Star-Tribune reports the damage at $5,000, every other media report examined reported $25,000, so I'm using the higher figure.]

"The cause of the fire is not known at this time and is being investigated as arson," police said in a statement. "The church has not reported any problems that may be associated with this incident". In addition, there was no sign of attempted forced entry, and no graffitti left to indicate the possibility of an anti-Mormon hate crime.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call police at 651-738-1022.

As of early last year, there were about 28,000 Mormons and 74 congregations in Minnesota. Mormons typically have Sunday services in their home "stake" or ward and use the temple for special ordinances such as baptism, marriage, and other sealings. A complete list of all LDS temples can be found HERE.

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