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, according to the Washington Post.
We are hearing via Facebook and Twitter that the fire took place in the chapel. One tweet says "it was gutted pretty much. Not looking good at all."
Another Facebook status said, " It's an important time to remember: the church is the Body of Christ, the people - buildings are merely safe places to pray."
The fire inside the chapel started shortly before 4 p.m. Friday. Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille says there is a partial roof collapse in one of the buildings.
There are no reported injuries at this time, Euille said.
More as news develops. Pray for our sisters and brothers at Virginia Seminary.
This is also one of the worshipping sites for Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church in Alexandria. Pray for that community as well.
From the VTS Public Relations office:
[Alexandria, VA] – This afternoon, at 3:55 p.m., the Virginia Theological Seminary community became aware that the historic 129 year old Immanuel Chapel was on fire.
9-1-1 was immediately called, buildings were evacuated and the emergency services responded quickly and efficiently. It is clear that significant damage has occurred, including the loss of the stained glass windows and iconic words “Go ye into all the 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,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, said, “The buildings nearby are intact and safe. The ministry and mission of VTS continue, even as the community grieves.”
Video from this afternoon, shot by Professor Stephen Cook of Virginia Theological Seminary: