An overnight fire destroyed a Baptist church in Franconia Monday, in a blaze that fire investigators have ruled accidental.
Laurel Grove Baptist Church, located at 6834 Beulah St. in Franconia, was the site of a two-alarm fire Monday, at 4:10 a.m. According to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, heavy fire was initially visible through the roof of the church, and an additional alarm brought to the scene nearly 50 emergency personnel, who fought the blaze through temperatures below freezing.
Two firefighters were transported to nearby Inova Healthplex Franconia-Springfield, treated and released for minor injuries.
Investigators ruled the cause of the fire to be an electrical malfunction in the attic. Cost of the damage is still being determined, due to the historical value of the church and its contents.
This time of year, with this type of weather, more typically fires result from preventable issues, candles and holiday decorations, rather than an electrical anomaly. "The cold weather's not going to increase the chance of wiring to malfunction," said Lt. Mark Stone with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.
Born and raised in Franconia, Stone said the fire was a cruel irony, after several local churches helped out after a three-fatality townhouse fire in nearby Manchester Lakes in July.
"Now, they're having a tragedy of their own," said Stone. "But that community is going to rally around this church," he said. "There's a unique thing to Franconia. It has seen tremendous growth, but it's amazing how many people are there who have been there for generations. It's still a small hometown to a lot of people."