Cigarette blamed for Terrace church 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.

More in Local News

Bicycle tour raises money for dialysis patients

Volunteers also shared health information and put together care packages for homeless women.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Boeing reaches out to schools

Company employees helped Everett students at recent reading and Manufacturing Day events.

5-vehicle collision sends school bus into ditch; no injuries

No students were hurt when a school bus crashed into… Continue reading

Fire crew returns early from wildfires in Northern California

Four Everett firefighters returned from battling California wildfires late Thursday… Continue reading

Theft lands former insurance salesman 50 days in jail

A former insurance salesman is expected to report to jail… Continue reading

Pair of intrepid musicians climb N. Cascades summits to play

Rose Freeman and Anastasia Allison pack their instruments up mountains for high-altitude recitals.

Expect river levels to keep rising, though sun is on the way

Some could crest above minor and moderate flood levels.

Oregon senator punished over alleged inappropriate touching

Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser didn’t identify anyone by name.

Most Read