Cause of New Plymouth church fire deemed accident, cause of fire mechanical failure of freezer

New Plymouth fire
Posted at 2:52 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 16:52:19-04

The fire that burned New Plymouth Baptist Church has been ruled an accident.

Officials with the Idaho State Fire Marshal's Office and the Idaho Department of Insurance announced the fire started in the church basement due to a "mechanical failure" of a chest freezer donated to the church several years prior, according to a news release.

"This investigation was filled with many challenges,” State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl said in a statement. "Due to an earlier storm that afternoon, officials had to consider a lightning strike being a cause. With the assistance of the Bureau of Land Management Boise Dispatch Office and the Payette County Sheriff’s drone, investigators were able to eliminate this as a viable cause."

The fire burned the church overnight May 15.