Officials: chapel fire began accidentally


The blaze that left the historic Immanuel Chapel gutted and charred last Friday began accidentally in the churchs sacristy, federal and local investigators now say.
No further details were immediately available from Alexandria Fire Department or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which cooperated in the investigation with local officials.
Built in 1823, the chapel was used three times daily as part of the Virginia Theological Seminary campus. Two services were conducted the day of the blaze, officials said. No one was injured in the two-alarm fire, a fact the seminarys dean was thankful for in a statement Thursday afternoon.
No lives were lost in this accidental fire and for this we are eternally grateful, Very Rev. Ian S. Markham said. We grieve the loss of a building that has witnessed many holy moments and which has meant so much to so many people worldwide, but we trust that however strange things look at this particular moment, love will triumph.
Seminary officials have vowed to rebuild the place of worship. Fire officials estimate total damages at about $2.5 million.