Sunday, March 24, 2013

Church library computer starts fire

CLEARFIELD, Utah — Investigators are blaming a 1980s-era computer for a fire that ravaged a Clearfield Community Church this week.

The old computer had overheated and sparked the Tuesday afternoon blaze in the church library. Pastor John Parsley said the computer was plugged in, but it wasn't on. The computer was used as a  catalog at the church library. "It was an old, old computer," said Gerald Nichols, a small group coordinator at the church. "It got turned on once a month." "It’s such a small, inconsequential thing, to have cause to much pain," said his wife, Cathy. Though there are often dozens of children at the church for home schooling, that day there were only about 13 junior high-age kids, and everyone got out safely.

North Davis District Interim Fire Chief Mark Becraft estimated the damages at between $750,000 and $1 million.

Pastor  Parsley said the church has insurance to cover the costs, and received several offers of alternative meeting places to use while members are displaced. “The LDS community helped out and the evangelical community helped, leaving us with the ability to take care of the things we had to do,” he said.

The church's blog notes that "Everyone was able to get out of the building and no one was injured.  No people were hurt, however the building was an almost total loss. While the church building has been damaged, the Church is still strong and will continue to be Christ’s family."

The blaze completely destroyed the newer, west wing of the church, while damage to the east wing was mainly the result of firefighting efforts.

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