Written by wadenelson
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Topics: Fire, church

Thursday, 11 August 2005

Spanish Forks -- A mammoth fireworks show to honor Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS church, went off as unplanned Wednesday evening when a truck carrying 35,000 pounds of high explosives caught fire and exploded along Utah Highway 6, near Spanish Forks. Breakaway polygamist sects are suspected in the explosion, which left a gaping hole in the highway, destroyed nearby train tracks, and sent four people to area hospitals.

Initial reports suggested Al-Quaida might have been responsible for the first explosion on US Soil since 9-11, however Homeland Security director Scoop Sizemore issued a press release at 11p.m. EST indicating that truck rollover, and a resulting fire were to blame, and no apparent sabotage or terrorist action was involved. Men with multiple wives were, however, known to have been involved in servicing the brakes on the trucks.

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, on the lam from authorities in both Utah and Arizona, denied his group's involvement in the explosion. "In the name of heaven," Jeffs said, "I'm a lover, not a fighter."

The tractor trailer had just left commercial explosives manufacturer Ensign Kablooie when the accident happened. The truck was headed up to the Temple \in Salt Lake for the annual celebration, company officials said. "There's a scene in the re-enactment called "Blowing Up the Baptists." That's what the explosives are for. It's very realistic."

Hal Jaussi, an Ensign-Kablooie manager, said the trucking company "met all federal regulations for transporting explosives. It had 18 wheels, only 16 of which were recaps, brakes from Midas, and a five pound fire estinguisher on board. That and a pair of foam earplugs for the driver, which proved to be extremely valuable."

Mormon Missionaries on their bicycles were backed up hundreds deep after the explosion. Highway 6 is a primary artery between Interstates 15 and 70, south of Salt Lake. The blast utterly destroyed the road, asphalt, bike lanes, guardrails, everything, creating a crater over 30' deep. The explosion set numerous fires on the surrounding hillsides. The Missionaries were reportedly sent back to Provo to switch to mountain bikes.

In response to the explosion, the White House announced that Operation Enduring Freedom would, at 12:01 EST tomorrow, be extended to include Iran, who today broke UN seals on various reactor facilities. White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan acknowledged the Utah explosion and an invasion of Iran were "completely unrelated". "But," said McClellan, "so were 9-11 and the invasion of Iraq."

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