PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A massive fire broke out Friday morning at the Provo Tabernacle.
A security guard working at the Tabernacle called in the fire to 911. About 25 fire fighters and 3 ladder engines responded to the blaze.
The fate of the building was cast in the first minutes of the fire that kept Firefighters engaged throughout the day Friday and into Saturday.
Firefighters arrived at 2:43 a.m. The only hope for saving the structure built in 1883 was an interior attack. But when they went into the tabernacle, they were pushed out by the already intense flames. They reported that the fire was in the upper level and rafters at the western end of the building.
Battalion commanders then made the decision to go into defensive mode. That meant that they would stay on the outside, pour on water and watch.
Provo Fire Battalion Chief Lynn Scofield says because of how old the building is, and how many times it has been renovated, it made the fire very difficult to battle. Scofield says there's a chance that the building will be a total loss.
The roof collapsed just before 6:00 a.m. leave the brick walls and a large pile of burning debris inside.
The Tabernacle is located on University Avenue between Center Street and 100 South. The streets immediately adjacent to the Tabernacle were closed all day Friday.
State and city fire marshals hoped to begin investigating the cause of the fire Saturday morning.
In the wake of the devastating fire, many gathered to watch, take pictures and share memories about the historic building.
Before the end of the day, a fund already had been established at Zions Bank to rebuild the tabernacle. That fund is through the Provo Foundation.
Cory Norman, the executive director of the foundation said, "The tabernacle has so much history and perhaps this effort will help support the Church in whatever direction it decides to go while providing residents a chance and a mechanism to heal from this great loss."
Donations can be made at any branch of Zions Bank.
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