SALT LAKE CITY —The Apia Samoa Temple, destroyed last week by a devastating fire, will be rebuilt utilizing a more recent temple design the First Presidency announced today. The First Presidency also encouraged Church members who wish to make a modest contribution to support the reconstruction to do so through their local wards and branches.
The Apia Samoa Temple, the first working temple of the Church to be destroyed by fire, fell victim to a fast-moving blaze on 9 July. Three fire trucks and more than 100 volunteers battled the flames, but fire engulfed the entire 14,000-square-foot building within 45 minutes. While they couldn’t save the temple, firefighters and volunteers were able to contain the blaze and keep it from spreading to adjacent Church properties. No one was injured in the fire.
Originally dedicated in 1983, the temple was undergoing expansion and renovation with rededication planned for later this year when the fire struck. To complete a new temple will now require approximately six months of detailed planning with an 18- to 24-month construction period to follow.
Plans for reconstruction will follow the design of recent temples and implement more efficient use of space and resources. The proposed design will include more than 16,000-square-feet and will include a fire prevention sprinkling system now required by current building codes.
The Apia Samoa Temple is one of 115 temples throughout the world. One of the more heavily utilized temples, it serves American Samoa and the two Samoan islands of Upolu and Savai’i. During reconstruction, Church members in the Apia temple district will continue to use temples in Nuku’alofa, Tonga; Hamilton, New Zealand; and Sydney, Australia.