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.
— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) November 20, 2023
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.
“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.
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.
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 events of the fire were caught on camera by multiple news organizations.