Church of Jesus Christ relocates services after fire, investigation ongoing
FARMINGTON — Services at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on West Apache Street have relocated as the result of a fire that occurred over the weekend at the chapel.
Firefighters were dispatched to the structure around 4 a.m. on June 1 and extinguished the fire in approximately two hours, according to a press release from the City of Farmington.
Georgette Allen, the city's spokeswoman, said on June 3 that the investigation into what caused the fire continues and no further information is available.
The June 1 release stated the San Juan County Fire Investigation Task Force is working with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on the investigation.
The federal agencies are assisting the task force because the fire occurred at a church, which sustained smoke and fire damage, according to the release.
Seth Bingham, a spokesman for the Farmington stake, said the building is closed and damage assessment is still under way.
Stake President Brent Farnsworth was among those who entered the building late Saturday to review damages and he noticed the fire grade doors in the foyer prevented the fire from spreading, Bingham said.
Among the items lost in the foyer were displays assembled by the three congregations that use the building – the Farmington 2nd Ward, the Farmington 4th Ward and the Farmington 7th Ward.
Each has up to 500 members and each service on Sundays is attended by up to 200 members, Bingham said.
Because of the closure, those wards are using the Knudsen Chapel at 1310 E. 25th St. and the stake center at 4400 College Blvd.
Among the services housed at the chapel were the ward activities, the genealogy library and the New Mexico Farmington Mission office.
The mission office has moved to the scout house at Taylor Park, 400 W. Comanche St.
Bingham added that several other churches reached out and offered space for church members to meet, and he said such action is "very much appreciated and acknowledged."
Visitors are welcome to visit the churches on East 25th Street and on College Boulevard. If a member is college aged, they can attend services at the Institute Building on College Boulevard.
The chapel on West Apache Street was built in the 1950s. The structure's features include a gymnasium, a full stage, a second floor and basement.
When it opened, it was the stake center for the Four Corners area and served New Mexico, Colorado and the Navajo Nation, Bingham said.
"It's kind of a Farmington landmark," he said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.