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Posted at 6:19 PM ET, 10/22/2010

Extensive damage to Va. seminary chapel

By Washington Post editors

Updated, 8:18 p.m.

Alexandria firefighters were battling a blaze Friday at a chapel on the grounds of the historic Virginia Theological Seminary, authorities said.

Seminary officials issued a news release saying they became aware shortly before 4 p.m. of a fire at the 129-year-old Immanuel Chapel. Fire officials were notified immediately and the building was evacuated.

No injuries were reported.

Battalion chief John W. North said when firefighters left their Duke Street station they could see smoke coming from the grounds of the seminary. By the time they arrived, about three minutes later -- they saw flames.

"They went on a defensive attack because of the volume of fire," North said. The building was too unstable to send firefighters inside, he added.

In the statement, seminary spokesman Curtis Prather said significant damage had occurred, including the loss of the stained glass windows and the iconic words above one, "Go ye into all world and preach the gospel."

"At this stage, the cause of the fire is unclear. The VTS community is saddened and devastated by this catastrophe," the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of the seminary, said in a statement.

The seminary was founded in 1823 in an Alexandria storefront. One of its founding fathers was Francis Scott Key.

Rogers, a former member of the vestry and usher at the chapel, said the seminary grounds, including the building next to the chapel, were occupied by Union troops during the Civil War.

-- Christy Goodman


Fire reported at Va. Theological Seminary
5:21 p.m.

Alexandria firefighters continue to battle a blaze at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, authorities said.

The seminary was founded in 1823 in an Alexandria storefront. One of its founding fathers was Francis Scott Key.

The fire has shut down Seminary Road between Fort Williams Parkway and North Quaker Lane, and North Quaker Lane is closed at the intersection of Seminary Road and Janneys Lane up to King Street.

Commuters are asked to use alternate routes.

4:21 p.m.

Alexandria firefighters are responding to a substantial blaze at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, authorities said. The fire at the seminary, at 3737 Seminary Road, broke out not long ago.

Stay with Postlocal.com for more details.

By Washington Post editors  | October 22, 2010; 6:19 PM ET
Categories:  Virginia  
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Comments

This is so sad

Posted by: BPraise | October 23, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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