National experts to investigate Tolleson church fire

Jul 2, 2012, 8:54 AM | Updated: 11:36 am

TOLLESON, Ariz. — A team of federal experts that investigated the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing is in the West Valley to determine the cause of last week’s fire at a Mormon church.

The church, near 95th Avenue and Van Buren Street, went up in flames in the early-morning hours last Friday.

The investigative team includes artists, bomb technicians, canines, chemists and engineers.

Monday a heavy crane was used to lift the roof from the church. The cave-in smashed pews during the fire.

“Once we take this roof out of the way our investigators will be really be able to get down to business.” said Tom Mangan, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alchol, Firearms and Tobacco.

Mangan added there was no timetable for determining if the fire at one of the oldest Mormon churches in Arizona was arson or accidental.

“We don’t speculate. This scene will tell us. The facts of the scene will bear out in the course of the investigation,” he said.

The fire caused approximately $2 million in damage.

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A crane is taking the remaining roof off the Mormon church in Tolleson that was destroyed by fire June 29. (Photo: Jim Cross/KTAR) Workers dig through the rubble of a Mormon church in Tolleson that burned down June 29. (Photo: Jim Cross/KTAR) Workers dig through the rubble of a Mormon church in Tolleson that was burned down June 29. (Photo: Jim Cross/KTAR) A crane is taking the remaining roof off the Mormon church in Tolleson that was destroyed by fire June 29. (Photo: Jim Cross/KTAR)

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National experts to investigate Tolleson church fire