Bomb squad dispatched to suspicious fire

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ST. GEORGE – An early-morning fire that initially drew the attention of St. George Police and the St. George Fire Department, took an ominous turn after it was discovered that the cause of the fire may have been a homemade explosive device.

A call was made to the St. George Communications Center sometime after 4 a.m. Wednesday reporting a fire in a dumpster at 1600 N. Dixie Downs Drive near the chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When emergency service personnel arrived on scene, they found a fire burning in the dumpster along with burning debris scattered across the parking lot.

“Initially, somebody thought they heard what was a gunshot … and, actually, what we came to find out, it was a dumpster fire,” St. George Police Sergeant Sam Despain said. “It was a little bit suspicious … that (it) may have been caused by some sort of homemade explosive device that started the fire, so our bomb squad was called out to investigate it and look into it and see if we could determine exactly the cause of the fire.”

While Despain said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, he said it is highly unlikely the church was targeted.

“The members of our bomb squad are looking into that to if, in fact, it was like an explosive device that started it, or how it started. At this point … it’s still very preliminary; we don’t know just yet.”

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, Despain said.

St. George Police, the St. George Fire Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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