No Arrests Made In ‘Suspicious’ Star Valley Church Fire


No arrests have been made, but authorities consider a fire that broke out in the Payson Living Word Bible Church in Star Valley suspicious.

The July 13 fire destroyed much of the two-story building in a matter of minutes, but left fire investigators with little clues to how it started and where.

Hellsgate Fire Department Fire Marshal John Wisner said they have narrowed it down to several ignition points in the bathroom and hallway; however, there are no known heat sources in those locations.

Although how the fire started remains undetermined, Wisner said the case is open and investigators are continuing interviews.

Several items were reported missing from the church, he said.

The fire, which broke out around 8:50 p.m., destroyed the back lower half of the church in the 90 block of Cornerstone Way, behind Tree Pro.

Firefighters were able to stop the flames from spreading to the upper floor and front half of the building within 15 minutes.

Reportedly, a church member saw smoke billowing from the building and called police. They then alerted the caretaker, who was watching a film at the time in a separate residence on site.

No one was in the building at the time the fire started.

Pastor Cliff Richey founded the non-denominational church in Payson in 2003. He moved it to Star Valley in 2006 and had plans to renovate the upstairs rooms.


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