VIRGINIA

Fire in the night guts 135-year-old Gainesville church

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Prince William County officials are trying to determine what sparked a fire at a church in Gainesville.

The fire broke out inside the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church shortly after 4:30 a.m. Friday. There were no occupants inside and no reported injuries.

Both federal and local authorities are looking for a cause. And the congregation is trying to figure out how to rebuild.

Members raced to the scene as word spread of the fire that consumed the church in the 15000 block of Lee Hwy in Gainesville.

Prince William County Fire said the blaze began in the back of the building. Witnesses say flames shot out of the side, back, front, and roof of the building.

The 135-year-old church will have to be gutted, but church members were touched after firefighters salvaged two bibles.

One was in the pulpit and it was hardly damaged at all. A bit of good news during a time of loss.

The church was preparing to hand out backpacks filled with school supplies to 100 needy children throughout the county. The backpacks were lost in the fire.

So they will have to regroup and lean on the community they were trying to serve. And they'll wait while fire investigators determine the cause of it all.

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