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HomeWorldTwo-Alarm Fire Severely Damages Latter-day Saint Meetinghouse in Maryland

Two-Alarm Fire Severely Damages Latter-day Saint Meetinghouse in Maryland

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A two-alarm fire at a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in Chevy Chase, Maryland, drew more than 100 firefighters in the surrounding area. 

A spokesperson with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services told ABC7 the fire is believed to have started in the attic just before 12:30 p.m. Monday at the church located on 5460 Western Avenue. 

Firefighters battled the intense fire, who responded from both the surrounding Maryland county and Washington D.C. A mayday call was issued as the ceiling collapsed upon firefighters in the building—all were rescued and no serious injuries have been reported. 

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“The fire did break through the roof area,” one official told Deseret News. “There was some structural collapse. A couple of firefighters were struck by some falling debris in the interior as they were exiting the building.”

There is no word yet what caused the fire, which caused severe damage to the building.

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Galen Fairbanks shared on social media, “The church building I grew up attending caught on fire today. It is a very old building (1952), and the interior was not only beautiful, it was very nostalgic for me. As an adult, walking through the building, I always had the strange feeling that everything seemed smaller to me now (but it was just that I had grown bigger than I was as a child). I am very sad. Grateful no one was harmed in the fire.”

Brother Fairbanks also shared photos of the historic interior. 

No photo description available.

Kerry Harding wrote, “In 1985, I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and started attending this beautiful historic chapel on the border of Washington, DC and Chevy Chase, Maryland that was completed in 1952. Two years later (1987), I would get married there, and five years later, my architecture firm would be selected to restore it. Today, after a fire that begin in an attic space from yet unknown causes, the building was destroyed by fire. Other than the destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral, I can’t think of any other building on earth that personally meant more to me.”

The local stake presidency also issued a statement which reads, “As many of you may have heard on the news, it grieves us to report that a 2-alarm fire broke out at the Chevy Chase chapel today just after 12:30 pm. Both the Montgomery County and the Washington DC Fire Departments responded to the emergency. We are grateful for the valiant efforts of the fire departments and emergency response personnel.”

“The chapel has experienced significant structural damage. Although the cause of the fire is still being assessed, the fire marshal has indicated that there does not appear to be evidence of arson. Additional information regarding the fire can be found in the news links below.”
 
“With our brothers and sisters in the Chevy Chase Ward, we mourn for the damage that has occurred to the building. Like many of you, we have fond memories of this historic chapel, which has played a pivotal role in the growth of the Stake and the Church in the Washington DC Area. The beloved chapel has been in use for over 72 years. The first meeting in the newly constructed building was held on August 5, 1951, with about 270 people in attendance, nearly filling the chapel. It was dedicated on November 16, 1952, by President Stephen L. Richards, First Counselor to President David O. McKay.”
 
“Recovering from this unfortunate event will take some time. We appreciate the love and support you can extend to those members who are displaced from their traditional place of worship.”
 

The events of the fire were caught on camera by multiple news organizations. 

 

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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