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Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 5:34 p.m.

Cigarette blamed for Terrace church fire

  • Flames pour from Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Mountlake Terrace early Wednesday.

    Maria Guerrero / KIRO

    Flames pour from Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Mountlake Terrace early Wednesday.

  • A worker surveys the scene at Mount Zion Lutheran Church Wednesday in Mountlake Terrace.

    Sofia Jaramillo / The Herald

    A worker surveys the scene at Mount Zion Lutheran Church Wednesday in Mountlake Terrace.

  • An investigator surveys the scene.

    Sofia Jaramillo / The Herald

    An investigator surveys the scene.

  • A closet is charred from the fire.

    Sofia Jaramillo / The Herald

    A closet is charred from the fire.

  • Vestments are recovered from Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Mountlake Terrace on Wednesday after an early morning blaze destroyed much of the church bu...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Vestments are recovered from Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Mountlake Terrace on Wednesday after an early morning blaze destroyed much of the church building. The sanctuary though, aside from smoke damage, escaped the worst of the fire. Officials from the ATF were also on scene to investigate the cause of the fire. Photo taken 20140507

  • Firefighters investigate the fire.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Firefighters investigate the fire.

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Pastor Franklin Paine does not know where his congregation will worship this Sunday.
Mount Zion Lutheran Church was heavily damaged by fire and smoke early Wednesday morning. “Right now, we're just cleaning up,” Paine said.
The future is uncertain for the congregation, which has about 30 regulars at its Sunday service.
Paine has been with the parish since 1984, and is one of two pastors there.
The fire was reported at around 3:30 a.m.
About 30 firefighters responded from Fire District 1 and the Lynnwood Fire Department. When they arrived on the scene, flames were shooting out of the roof of the building. Firefighters extinguished the blaze by about 4:30 a.m.
The fire tore through the attic over the church's rectory. Charred ceiling and roof material littered the rectory's offices, common room and kitchen.
The roof had partially collapsed. Its burnt beams sagged into the rooms below. The sanctuary had some smoke and water damage inside.
The fire caused an estimated $300,000 worth of damage, said Fire District 1 Battalion Chief Jerry Sheehan.
Investigators believe the fire started from a cigarette discarded in a plastic container behind the building.
Firefighters initially suspected a glass bottle was a fire bomb.
“It turned out to be just a Snapple bottle,” he said.
No one was inside when the fire started.
As a precaution, Sheehan said, one firefighter was taken to the hospital after some ceiling material fell on him.
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » Mountlake TerraceFirefighting

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