Provo Tabernacle fire destroys historic Utah building

Provo Tabernacle

As of Friday afternoon, only the brick and towers of the Provo Tabernacle still stood. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Around 2:45 a.m. on Friday morning, the historic Provo Tabernacle caught fire. Just a few hours later, the roof collapsed and firefighters took a defensive posture. The Provo, Utah, religious building is likely a complete loss.

Provo Tabernacle fire was difficult to fight

When firefighters were called to the Provo Tabernacle fire on Friday morning, they found the blaze tough to fight. The building, which was completed in 1898, has been renovated several times. The complicated layout of the building combined with the very hot fire meant that firefighters had to fight the fire entirely from the outside. At about 6 a.m., the roof of the Provo Tabernacle collapsed. By noon, only the brick facade and towers of the Provo Tabernacle were still standing. Firefighters remained on the scene to provide protection for nearby buildings.

Unknown cause of the Provo Tabernacle fire

The cause of the fire at the Provo Tabernacle has not yet been determined. Investigators will have to sort through the remains of the building after the fire has burned itself out. However, the fire department it isn’t suspected that there was a “suspicious” cause to the fire. Brigham Young University film crews that had been filming in the building the night before reported a “smell like a hot glue gun.” The crews believed it was the hot lights for the concert filming causing the smell and did not think much of it.

History of the Provo Tabernacle

The Provo Tabernacle was considered a Provo landmark. The building was constructed as a religious building in 1898 and cost about $100,000 — about $2.5 million in 2009 dollars. In 1918 and again in 1949, the roof of the building was condemned because the clock tower put too much stress on the roof. The clock tower was eventually removed. The building has been in continuous use since it was built, and it was protected by the National Historic Register. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the building, has not yet indicated if it will try to save or rebuild the Provo Tabernacle.


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