Riverton officials: Church fire wasn't preventable

By: AP
By: AP

Riverton, WY (AP) - City officials don't believe they could have prevented a fire that gutted an old church building.

A furnace is blamed for starting the March 12 fire in the former home of the First Baptist Church. An attached apartment was also destroyed.

Riverton Community Development director Sandy Luers told The Ranger that the building department inspects new construction and renovation work but doesn't inspect existing buildings to make sure they comply with current building codes.

City records don't show any permit to do work on building's heating, ventilation or air conditioning system.

Firefighters thought they had put the fire out but it continued to smolder in the walls. Volunteer fire department chief Mike Hutchinson says clutter in the sanctuary, used for storage, prevented them from thoroughly inspecting the walls.

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